Preston, the father of four, has been married for 47 years. He is a professional bookbinder who restores books, providing great joy to his customers who often have a deep sentimental attachment to the books he brings back to life for them. He and his family are devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. He has participated in multiple clinical trials and has encouraged friends and family to volunteer as well.
Why did you decide to choose a clinical trial? What led you there?
I feel that diabetes and ignorance go hand and hand. A person with diabetes for the most part feels great. My glucose levels at one point were a little over 300 when I first went to the doctor and was diagnosed. I didn’t feel bad but I knew something wasn’t right because I wasn’t seeing clearly. I went to my eye doctor and they said everything was fine in my eyes. They said maybe what you are seeing is the reaction of your body to the onset of diabetes. I found that even though the doctor told me what I had, he never told me what to do. Now, I may have missed some of the more important things because when he said diabetes I think I went into shock. My brain didn’t take in everything he said.
The fact of the matter is when I walked out of there I didn’t know what to do, so I began to read. Then when I found out about this clinical trial, I went to (the research site). I told them I am an African American male with a history of diabetes in my family. I had a father who had prostate cancer and I don’t want to die so let’s put me in a trial. They said they could and from that point I knew I was right on target because that’s when they began to take me by the hand and take the time to really talk to me. All this guidance I was getting kind of began to put my brain in the right direction. That is what (the clinical trials staff) was willing to do for me. I trusted them implicitly.
Have you volunteered for other clinical trials since?
I have participated in three or four other trials. Some are ongoing once you are involved. There is one I probably got started on about five years ago. Although I am no longer taking the medication, they still brought me in for testing to make sure there were no long-term effects from the drug.
Principally, they would call me for something in relationship to diabetes studies or cholesterol studies. I don’t mind at all working with research. I came to the conclusion that if you are involved in research that you are there because you have a real problem, they are looking to fix your problem, they treat you as well if not better than your regular physician and they certainly spend more time with you than your regular physicians do. They do more thorough investigations. They were finding any time bombs that were going off inside my body. With all the research we’re doing including blood tests, they would come up with something if I had it going on.
How have clinical trials improved your health?
I knew I was diabetic but I didn’t know what to expect. Everything they did was so thorough. At that point nothing else mattered. I got information about my diabetes and nutrition help. The doctor explained everything in a way that I could understand it more clearly than my (regular) physician had ever explained it. I didn’t feel in anyway that I was being used. I felt like they were caring. They were clearly watching what was going on with my health.
When you hear the mission of Greater Gift what comes to mind?
Greater Gift is elevating clinical research, and spreading awareness and knowledge. They share what it takes to make drugs and get them to market and the bodies it is being developed for. I think in a very educative way they do that.
What is your hope for clinical trials in the future?
I hope that clinical trials will become more acceptable by the masses and will have a better reputation. Without clinical trials we have no drugs and today we depend on drugs to balance our imperfect systems in our flesh. I find no fault in clinical trials. I will advocate them to everyone. I think clinical trials have a place in this system of things.
Describe clinical trials in three words.
Effective. Thorough. Friendly.