Interview with Eldrid Herrington

What is your name and where do you live?  

My name is Ellie and I live in east London with my partner and our children.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do when you are not working with Myelopathy.org? What do you do during your spare time?    

I work in Cambridge on climate change. In my spare time, I plague my children, read read read (about a book a day as well as newspapers), go to museums, travel, ice skate, socialize with friends, and at the moment I am building something called a passivhaus.

What is your role at Myelopathy.org?

I am a member of the Board and feel fortunate to serve alongside such wonderful, dedicated, and hard-working colleagues who have given immense thought and effort to ensuring that the charity is doing as much as it can to address the multiple, complex challenges that myelopathy presents.

Why did you get involved with Myelopathy.org? 

My dear friend Julia Carter had introduced me to the organization when it was just starting – we even went on a road trip together – and I had followed its development closely. When Julia became Patron of the charity I was invited to join the Board and was thrilled to have been asked. I have known Board members through other personal and professional connections within larger scientific and university research worlds. I also have a couple of friends with the condition and have a strong personal motivation to help where I can.

I was also interested in the complex challenges that myelopathy presents, which encompass interdisciplinary research, policy, and community building, where it was my hope that my own experience could complement my colleagues’ expertise. I was a Senior Research Fellow in medicine at Queen Mary, University of London and, in addition to conducting and publishing research, have served on a number of national clinical research, strategy, policy, publishing, and funding committees in the UK, as well as committees within my local hospital trust, Barts. I became involved in medicine in order to make a difference; for example, one of the committees I served on from March 2020 made bi-weekly recommendations to the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Chris Whitty, as to which COVID-19 research the country should deploy nationally.

This desire to make a difference has also motivated my interest in supporting Myelopathy.org. Myelopathy is a relatively common but sadly under-diagnosed condition – this makes the possibilities for the charity complex but also compelling. The charity has the expertise and networks to advance our understanding of the disease but also to make a difference in terms of education for professionals and building international support networks where patients contribute to the understanding not just of the disease but of the practical issues that they face in getting diagnosis and treatment, in the UK and internationally.

How did you hear about Myelopathy.org?

I have known about the organization from its foundation and am glad to be involved in order to help it to grow in size and impact.

What has your experience been like with Myelopathy.org?

I have loved working with and learning from my wonderful colleagues within Myelopathy.org, all of whom have given enormous amounts of time and energy to make the charity a success. We are all great friends: the charity is incredibly collegial and a joy in the midst of hard work. There is increasing pressure on medical and clinical research charities in the UK and kindness and dedication are critical to doing the needed work in this climate.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself

  • I have danced with James Brown
  • I have danced with Kylie Minogue
  • I have danced with Slash