By Don C. Reed

Remember that World War II battle song — “We did it before, and we can do it again, yes, we can do it again, we did it before — and we’ll do it again!”

We DID do it before, remember? In 2003–2004 we fought the great Proposition 71 stem cell battle, and we won. We authorized $3 billion for stem cell research. We saved 50 children’s lives, and eased the suffering of paralyzed people, restoring upper body motion, and developed two FDA-approved drugs for fatal blood cancers, and a whole lot more.

Now we must do it again, to keep the California stem cell program alive.

True, I am not now what I was then. I had not had the stroke, which makes me stutter now. It is embarrassing sometimes, when the stutter makes me “block” and no words come out.

But still I can do something, and I will. If I talk slow, let them wait. Sooner or later I will get past the block and say what I have to say.

If it’s important, nothing will stop us.

And this is important.

This is about 133 million Americans with a chronic condition. People like my sister Barbara, in the hospital right now. There is a mass in her lung, and they don’t know what it is — maybe cancer, which recently killed my wife Gloria.

Her husband just called me, an hour ago. I promised, as soon as I hung up, I would email her, and I did. It wasn’t much, just something small that I could do, and I did.

Do you have a computer?

If so, is there one person you can e-mail about Proposition 14, the California Stem Cell Research, Treatments, and Cures Initiative of 2020?

Or maybe you could drop a quick reminder to everybody on your e-list?

Or — the old secret mouth-to-ear communication trick….

How many people do you meet during the day?

Fifteen, twenty, a hundred?

Now — how many could you ask if they heard about Prop 14, the stem cell bill?

Yesterday, my out-of-house trips were food-shopping at the grocery store, and the Dentist’s office to get my teeth cleaned.

I only asked three people: BUT this is what I got:

1. “I never heard about it, but I like it and will vote for it”;

2. “It sounds good but I will have to read up on it;”

3. “You already talked to me about this.”

I apologized to the latter, but she said, “No, that’s fine — and I voted for it!”

One YES and two MAYBEs!

If you were to ask just one person today, have they heard about Proposition 14, the stem cell bill — that might mean one vote we could otherwise have lost.

Do people object to being made aware of something as wonderful as the California stem cell program?

The vast majority, in my experience, find it (at very least) interesting. Most are supportive — if they know about it. So, let’s tell them!

If they don’t want to hear about it, they will tell you, so don’t worry about it.

Why should you bother? You are a busy person.

But this is a rare moment, when we could quite literally change the world.

Has anybody — ever in your life — said to you: “Hey, let’s spend $5 billion dollars and cure diseases, save lives and ease suffering”?

Bob Klein is saying that to you right now. That is what Prop 14 is all about: renewing the funding for the California stem cell program, for $5.5 billion.

Bob is not asking you to do anything he would not do himself. He works to exhaustion every day, raising money to pay for the campaign; he has been fighting to raise funds to save lives for twenty years; maybe more, he does not talk about it. He just goes on and on, working every day toward this incredible dream: that from stem cells and regenerative medicine, cure will come. Lives will be saved; pain and suffering can be eased. We can make it happen.

We are so close now; we must not lose by a few votes. Give it everything you’ve got, and more. Do something today. Don’t let Bob down.

We did it before; we can do it again.

Don C. Reed is the author of several books on stem cell research.

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