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Caroline's Story

Caroline's Story

A Caerphilly wife and mother who survived breast cancer has called for more people to join a flagship Welsh study aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of the nation.

Caroline Kitson, aged 61, signed up to HealthWise Wales to play her part in the national effort to improve health, care and NHS services.

Funded by the Welsh Government and led by Cardiff University, HealthWise Wales aims to build a picture of the nation's health by collecting information from people of all ages and walks of life across the country.

Caroline now answers simple questions online every six months. Her answers, along with those of 18,000 others to date, gives the researchers the data needed to piece together a picture of the nation's health and how it could be improved in the future.

Caroline, who works as a senior communications manager at the Food Standard Agency, was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago. Having made a good recovery, she's now more aware than ever of the importance of research and good health.

Caroline was also recently diagnosed with osteoporosis and, as a result, she's been made aware of the vital role exercise plays both in recovering from illness and preventing future health problems.

Caroline said: "People often don't realise how much their day-to-day lifestyle can affect their overall health. It was a result of my breast cancer that I became so aware of my own situation and of how precious life is.

"I'm a trained home economist so I have good background knowledge of nutrition and diet, but it's only since my breast cancer and osteoporosis that I've fully understood the importance of exercise.

"As part of my rehabilitation, I signed up to run a couple of races, including a 10k recently, as well as getting a gym membership. Even if it's just a walk with the family, getting out and being active is so important. It's every individual's responsibility to take care of themselves and do as much as possible to prevent illness.

"I signed up to HealthWise Wales after reading about it in the local newspaper. Research and activity like this is so important as it provides the knowledge and information that will help in the future. Being able to contribute to data that could help not just you but your family, friends and future generations is an amazing thing. I see it as part of being a responsible citizen.

"I often share information about HealthWise on social media. I think it's really important to cast the net as widely as possible. It's not about forcing people to join research projects, it's making sure that people are aware that they exist and that they have all the information to be able to make their own decisions."

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