By Don C. Reed
I wake up to an almost empty house; my wife Gloria having recently died of cancer.
But as I get up and go to the bathroom and begin the day’s routine, I have a sense of purpose, a reason to go on, though my heart still aches with loss.
I have something no other generation ever had, not in the history of the world.
I live in a state which is fighting back against cancer, and other forms of chronic disease, systematically — with stem cells.
In California, citizens have the opportunity to bring great change: to put an initiative on the ballot to fund stem cell research. In 2004, we did.
Bob Klein is the man who began it: Proposition 71, the citizens’ initiative which led to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
Bob knows the pain of loss: his beloved son Jordan died too young, from complications of Type 1 diabetes. Bob’s mother also passed away from chronic illness: Alzheimer’s disease.
Type 1 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease have this in common: they are being fought against. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is attacking those vile conditions.
We cannot know when cure will come; but this we can know: if we do nothing, nothing is what we will get.
Shakespeare said it best, asking: “…whether ’tis nobler in the mind to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them.”
That’s it, that’s the story of life, right there. Do we fight back against what’s wrong, or just give up?
It is like that whiny old saying, “What can’t be cured, must be endured.” I don’t like that saying.
That is not us: not now, not this hour.
Today, we fight.
We do everything in our power to pass Proposition 14: the California Stem Cell Research, Treatments and Cures Initiative of 2020.
Let me tell you something. My wife died at home, which I am so glad we did, because I got to spend more hours with the person I loved best in all the world.
But it was long and slow and hard.
Among her last coherent sentences she said: and I can’t remember it word for word, I wish I could: But it was something like:
“This stem cell stuff must be allowed; no one should have to suffer like this.”
And now she is gone.
Will California continue the fight: to try and cure paralysis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and so much more?
That is up to us, the voters.
I know where I stand, me and my family and friends and anyone with whom I have a chance to talk.
We will vote YES! on Prop 14.
My house is not completely empty; it has still room for memories, and hope.
Don C. Reed is the author of “CALIFORNIA CURES” and other books on stem cell research.