An Interview with Helen Wood

Dearest Reader,

My name is Lady Whistledown. Just kidding, my name is Carol. I am one of the trustees, overseeing the branding, communications, and marketing for Myelopathy.org. 

One of our goals for the new website is to give you the opportunity to meet and get to know those who are or have been involved with the charity. We will be posting an “Interview with …” topic monthly. 

To kick-off this series, we interviewed Helen who is the . . . think I will leave it to you to read on and find out what she does.   

Yours truly,
Carol Sun-Schuster

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What is your name?  

Helen Wood                                     

Where do you live?  

Barnes in South West London                                      

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I worked as a corporate solicitor for a number of years in the City of London and Singapore. But, after I had my three children, I changed direction and volunteered for a number of human rights and medical charities in Japan (where we lived for four years) and London.  Once all of the children were at senior school, I went back to university to complete a MA in Medical Ethics and Law.                                                       

Helen’s Children
What is your role at Myelopathy.org?

I am the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Why did you get involved with Myelopathy.org?

I wanted to find a role where I could utilise my skill set – both my experience as a solicitor and my newly acquired knowledge gained through my MA.  I had already spent a number of years volunteering in the charity sector and so knew what to expect. When the opportunity arose at Myelopathy.org,  I realised I could not only utilise my skills but also add some real value to the charity to help with the aim of supporting and transforming the quality of life for people with DCM.  

How did you hear about Myelopathy.org?

I had a chance meeting with our co-founder Dr Benjamin Davies’ mother at a mutual friend’s Christmas drinks party.  We got talking and she said given my background I sounded just right for her son’s new charity!  I started helping Myelopathy.org in the summer of 2018, became a trustee that Autumn, and then took over the position of Chair in 2020.                                      

What has your experience been like with Myelopathy.org? 

It has been hugely varied. Running a very new charity is like being involved in a start-up business, and you have to be ready to get involved in all aspects of the administration. I focus primarily on the governance, legal, and financial aspects of the charity and lead the Fundraising Committee. I have had the opportunity to work closely with all of the co-founders, other trustees and volunteers who come from such a wide variety of backgrounds. It is hugely rewarding to see the charity grow, and most importantly see the benefits it brings to our beneficiaries – people with DCM, carers, healthcare professionals – who rely on us to be a trusted platform of information and support.                                          

What do you do when you are not volunteering at Myelopathy.org?

I am the Alternate Vice Chair of the London (Bromley) Research Ethics Committee. Research Ethics Committees review all NHS related medical research studies in the UK. The committee sits once a month, and we review approximately five research studies to ensure they comply with ethical guidelines. This can be anything from a trial of a new medicine or vaccine to the use of a new technique in surgery. Until very recently, I was the Chair of the Board of Directors of a local property management company, but I resigned from this to spend more time on my work with Myelopathy.org.                          

What do you do during your spare time?

When I am not managing my family (adult children and teenagers seem to need a lot of managing), cat, and dog (the animals always seem to be doing something stupid which involves lengthy trips to the vet), I love running, reading and cooking.  I have taken advantage since the easing of lockdown to go skiing again this year and am planning some lovely family holidays (if any of the children will come with us!).              

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself. Please comment below which one you think is the lie! 🙂
  1. I was a passenger on a plane that ditched in the Indian Ocean.
  2. I have had to evacuate a country with 45 minutes notice.
  3. I have visited every continent. 

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