Sunday, 19 June 2016

Paws for Thought

Hong Kong vet administers stem cell treatment

A busy couple of weeks. First, I was sent off to Hong Kong for ITN to film a piece about a new stem cell trial on dogs with osteoathritis. It never ceases to amaze me how expats living in hot and humid countries always seem to have big hairy pets. Still, it was sad to see them limping around because of their degenerating joints (the pets, not the expats), so it was good to do a report on pioneering company VetCell Therapeutics Asia, which sees stem cell therapy as the solution. 

My cameraman Mark (pictured above) filmed Swiss Mountain dog Roxie being injected directly into her hip joints. We'll know around September if stem cell therapy can cause cartilage and tissue to re-grow. It's already proved useful in human treatments, so fingers crossed it has the same effect on poor old Roxie.

I've also been asked to help Turkish broadcaster TRT World set up their London studio. Their news bulletins are not yet live from London, and when they are, they'll only be seen in Turkey. But it's an interesting project, and the new studio in Oxford Circus looks fab, as you can see below. TRT hopes to broadcast bulletins from there in a couple of weeks.

But by far the saddest job of this week was covering the murder of MP Jo Cox for ITV News. Jo was shot and stabbed outside her constituency surgery in West Yorkshire. It's a shocking story, and has inevitably led to a lot of debate about the motives of the killer, whether it was linked to the EU referendum (Jo was campaigning for the Remain camp) and how her death will affect the vote. But at the heart of it all is a tragic story of a vivacious, hard-working young mum who was cruelly taken from her friends and family.

I was at a memorial event held for Jo in Batley, part of her constituency. It was humbling to see how many lives she'd touched and how loved she was by everyone there, whatever their politics or religion. Again and again, people described her as caring, kind, compassionate, committed. I found myself thinking that if any of us could leave half the mark she did at the end of our lives, we should count ourselves lucky. 

And on that sombre note, I will just say Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. May you never run out of socks and ties. 

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