My earliest memory of being asthmatic is in my teens some thirty plus years ago. My specific research interest falls around respiratory research, but I don't limit myself to just respiratory studies; I'm happy to help with any research if I feel I have a comment or input to make.
Clinicians and researchers are all very well talking about research, but they are only one part of it. They provide their perspective of research and patients and the public provide another perspective.
I think it's important to be able to influence clinical research, and it's great that I have the opportunity to do this where I live. You get to interact with senior researchers and clinicians, but most importantly, I feel my views and opinions are both listened to and welcomed by all those involved.
If someone is thinking of getting involved, I'd say "do it". As well as having a voice and playing a part in the direction of research, you find out so many new things and hear about studies that could make a huge difference to people's daily lives and quality of life.