Paul Cronin beat COVID-19 while battling cancer – now he’s lending himself to research.
If recovered patients hold the clue to beating COVID-19, then Paul Cronin would be a crucial one.
The 62-year-old father defied the odds to remarkably beat COVID-19 while also suffering from multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.
He is lending himself to research to help find clues to understanding the virus and determine the level of immunity he may now have against the disease.
He is one of many patients volunteering for the SA immunity study at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), supported by The Hospital Research Foundation and public donations through Fund The Fight.
Recalling his COVID journey, Paul said he was on a trip of a lifetime to the Antarctic in March when he returned back to base in Argentina to discover “the whole world had closed”.
“Flights were being cancelled left right and centre so we scrambled to get home, which took us four days. I self-isolated when I got home but I caught it in Rio I think,” Paul said.
“I don’t have immunity to anything because of my multiple myeloma, so as soon as I tested positive I was taken to the RAH where I spent the next 19 days, including two days in intensive care.”
Paul is currently involved in three clinical trials as a recovered patient and also received a trial treatment drug while in intensive care at the RAH.
“It was hydroxychloroquine which is a bit controversial, but I think it helped save my life,” he said.
“I am a huge supporter of research. I get other people’s plasma and bloods to help manage my multiple myeloma so it’s the least I can do to return the favour.
“I just want to help people. Help one, help all.”
Despite his ordeal and the odds being stacked up against him, the medical marvel is feeling well.
“My oxygen levels are a lot less than what they were and my liver function is not very good, but they think my liver should improve.
“I puff when I walk and go upstairs but that’s ok, I’m getting used to that. Considering doctors didn’t think I wouldn’t make it, I’m feeling pretty good.”
Thank you to COVID-19 study participants
Head researcher Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk said she was grateful to all the South Australian patients who had volunteered to participate in the study, while more patients were also being recruited from interstate.
“We very much appreciate them taking time out of their busy lives to attend the clinic for multiple visits,” she said.
“It is their good will, humanity and willingness to support this vital research that will help not only us, but researchers across Australia and the world, fight the coronavirus in order for our lives to return to normality.
“We are now part of a large national collaborative consortium, working with scientists and clinicians from four states to increase the sample size of patients available for detailed analysis to further improve our understanding of the virus and the COVID-19 disease.”
You can support this study and more research into COVID-19, simply donate here and select ‘COVID-19’ when asked to choose.