Sophie flying the flag for young patients

Patient ambassador Sophie Ainsworth. (s)
Patient ambassador Sophie Ainsworth. (s)
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A Valley teenager has been rewarded for her outstanding contribution to patient and public involvement at the North West Coast Research and Innovation Awards.

Sophie Ainsworth (17) of West Bradford, attended the awards which celebrated the work of different teams and individuals working in health research across the North West.

Sophie said: “Over the last couple of years, I’ve worked with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital on a variety of research projects. I’m a Patient Research Ambassador, which means I spend a lot of time promoting research and the importance of patient involvement – this can include taking part in studies such as the Lupus study I’m involved in. I’m also part of TRECA, a study which is making clinical trials easier to understand for children. I’ve attended conferences in Barcelona and at the European Medicines Agency in London, where I spoke to medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies about the importance of patient involvement in research.”

Sophie’s biggest project to date is RAiISE, a campaign she founded last year which aims to raise awareness of invisible illness in schools and education.

She continued: “Following negative experiences after my Lupus diagnosis, I sometimes didn’t receive the support I needed. In the past year we have brought together a variety of young people with invisible illnesses along with their parents and education and teaching professionals to discuss how teachers can best support their students who have invisible illness. With the input of all these people we are producing an information pack which we are going to send to schools across the country.”