#27 Professional research thing?

When I started this blog in May, I didn’t think anything would become of it. The most I thought would happen would be that my friends would have a better understanding of alopecia and maybe have a bit of a laugh at my antics that got mixed in the middle. Little did I know it was going to become a little bit more than a tiny corner of the Internet.

My little internet patch was discovered by a researcher at Oxford university earlier in the year, and today I went up to Oxford for the day to do an interview about living with alopecia as a young person. The interview ended up being nearly 2 hourslong, and I got asked many questions about living with alopecia, ranging from how I developed it and how I was diagnosed, how I went about trying wigs, blogging and even eyebrow tattoos. It was amazing sitting and being interviewed for the SKINS project – just being able to effortlessly talk about everything alopecia related and know it’s going to be of lots of use to many people made it all the better!
Talking of lots of people, I had a look last night at the stats for this blog in preparation for the interview today and discovered something that I class as pretty awesome. I assumed that this was only being viewed by my Facebook friends. I was very much wrong. Since starting this, I’ve had nearly 2000 people from around the globe view my posts, including viewers from Spain, Germany, Canada, the U.S., Vietnam, Malaysia and many other corners of the world! Of course a massive chunk of my viewers are from the UK and more than likely are my friends or family, but just the knowledge that people have read my blog from other countries just makes me speechless.
The interview that I did today will hopefully be going onto the Youth Health website in the next few weeks once it’s been typed and edited by myself and the University of Oxford so it’s suitable for the Internet. It’s also going to be used as part of the study for teaching methods and further research into skin conditions in young people. I’ll post a link to the video interview when it goes online (providing I don’t look too horrific – I did try to look presentable, I promise).
I’m not the only one who is partaking in the research project, and I’ve actually been asked to put a mini shout out for more volunteers to take part. If you’re aged 12-24 and have acne, alopecia, psoriasis or eczema then the SKINS project is looking for you! They can interview you at home or in some cases (like mine) they will fund your trip up to Oxford. To get more info email Abi McNiven on abigail.mcniven@phc.ox.ac.uk asking for more info on the SKINS project. Remember to say you found out about it through Rosie’s blog ‘perksofbeingabaldgirl’ – I’m sure she’d be really interested to hear if I managed to find anyone else!
Having written the above section ^^^ on the train home from Oxford earlier today, I’m still sat in my room thinking about it. My flat mates and family were all very keen to hear how the interview went when I eventually got home (Cardiff is a bit of a trek from Oxford, and also the Rugby World Cup wasn’t of much help). It was nice coming home to takeaway food and cake and just being able to talk (rather excitedly) about the interview and about all of the things that I didn’t even start to consider until today. For example, one of the questions I got asked was ‘why do you think a lot of your readers are from the US?Do you think its due to different healthcare structures?’ and I honestly had to think about my answer. It is a curious matter, and I may be completely wrong when I say that healthcare information isn’t as easily (or freely) accessible in the States as it is in the UK, so many use the internet to look for possible answers. Any US readers please leave comments on how you found this blog/why you’re reading it – I’d love to know! Also I can see the viewer stats so I know I’m getting a couple of US visitors every day so at least someone should have a reply 😉
The same applies to other readers – please leave comments saying where you’re reading from – even though I can see the stats I’m sure other people would also like to see them!

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