‘Tis the Season to Thank Our Research Volunteers

Dec 22 2016

‘Tis the Season to Thank Our Research Volunteers

By Chris Gantz, MBA

Editor’s Note: This blog originally appeared on the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia blog. View the original blog post here.

Working at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) during this time of year is incredibly gratifying. In the past few weeks I have heard literally dozens of stories about groups of employees coming together to raise money for charities; conduct drives for food, toys and books; work to help the homeless; and “adopt” families to ensure that children being treated at the hospital and their parents have an enjoyable holiday.

In addition to the amazing work being done by the CHOP team, ‘tis the season to recognize another group of people that continually inspires me with their generosity: the families that have chosen to participate in the many different research projects underway here at CHOP. As I’ve mentioned before, without the help of the public, many groundbreaking discoveries would never happen.

With so many demands on the time of parents, caregivers, and children during this time of year, it can seem impossible to get everything done on our “to do” lists. But these families manage to find the extra time to answer survey questions, try a new treatment or therapy, or give feedback about a new piece of technology. They do this because they know that their contribution has the potential to profoundly impact the lives of others.

Of course this selflessness doesn’t just occur during the holidays. It can be witnessed throughout the year. We often find ourselves talking to parents or children who have already participated but want to do more. They ask about other studies in which to participate or offer to donate the compensation they received for their time and travel to other research studies.

My job is to find ways to get the word out to members of the public who don’t realize that research participation is volunteerism and that CHOP and other research organizations need their help. Whether you volunteer in your workplace, participate in research studies, or find other ways to make the world a better place, thank you for your contribution.

I recently came across a quote by Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which speaks to the impact volunteers have when working towards a greater good:

“Let us remember the large numbers of citizens who, day in and day out, through acts of volunteerism large and small, bring hope to so many of the world's disadvantaged. Let us ensure that this wonderful resource, available in abundance to every nation, is recognized and supported as it works towards a more prosperous and peaceful world.”

To learn about research participation opportunities at CHOP, click here.