This week, I faced some challenges but luckily, there were triumphs that made up for them (to a certain degree). I began my preliminary interviews with one of my experts, Dr. Penny Kendall-Reed, who will be returning from a vacation shortly. I will be meeting her at her office in the coming weeks for a formal interview.
I also spoke to one of my main characters, Sarah, over the weekend and asked her if she had any questions to ask the geneticist. Despite doing her own research, there were still a lot of things she was unsure about, so I will be sure to ask Penny her questions. I also spoke to my other main character, Brittany, who actually has a degree in genetics from Trent University. Aside from talking about her own experience with genetic testing, she has been giving me some lessons on genes, odds and common genetic illnesses. I’ve realized after talking to Brittany for a couple months now that she is in a very unique situation – she has studied genetics, but she’s also at risk of developing a genetic illness, something she didn’t know before she started studying. For that reason, I’m going to be focusing slightly more on Brittany (she’s also the youngest person at 23, and I was hoping my main characters would be around her age). Brittany’s sisters and parents are also willing to speak to me a bit about their family history and how they have grappled with Brittany’s chances of developing genetic illnesses.
One challenge that I faced this week was with Sarah. I mentioned in my last memo that she would be busy in the coming weeks and would have as much time to speak with me. She let me know over the weekend that her family does not want to be involved because it makes them too emotional and worried. This is not detrimental, however I would have liked to include their input. The family’s unwillingness to talk actually contributes something to this story though, since it is such a sensitive topic. I think it will be worthwhile asking all my main characters more about their family’s involvement and whether they are supportive of their decisions.