Why We Do What We Do

The New Year marks a time of reflection in our lives.  We look back at the preceding year and take note of the ups and downs.  We gather energy from a new beginning and march forward with hope and motivation toward the realization of our dreams.

Since my son’s spinal cord injury in December of 2002, my foremost aspiration has been to witness curative therapies, in my lifetime, that will restore health to his broken body.  But it’s not just for him, and I think all of us at U2FP would agree.  We do what we do not just for ourselves or family members who are living with paralysis, we do it because:

  • We remember the pain, the heartbreak, and the feeling of terror that overwhelmed us with each doctor’s report.
  • We know what it takes to recover from the trauma, to get out the door in the morning, to navigate the mental & physical obstacles that are part of each day.
  • For every person with SCI who is out and about, working and leading a productive life, participating in adaptive sports, there are many more who cannot use their hands, are dependent on others 24/7, and who rarely leave their homes.
  • Science and engineering have the capability to solve the neurological puzzles.  Our community can play a major role in how fast it is achieved.
  • Spinal cord injury is a comparatively rare condition when competing for research dollars.  The burden falls on patient advocates to generate the funding.

Clinical trials in spinal cord injury, many using regenerative stem cell therapies, are coming online.  The science is ahead of the funding and advocacy at this point.  A major focus for U2FP in 2011 will be to develop strategies for ramping up the advocacy effort.  Are you with us?

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2 Responses to “Why We Do What We Do”

  1. Catalyst Biomedical Says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    Nice to see patient advocates working to push the cause for treatment. As a former researcher turned consultant, it is of utmost importance for you and others like you to continue getting the word out about advancement of stem cell therapies as treatment for conditions such as paralysis. You may want to take a look at what has been done by some labs at UC Irvine, and Chuck Vacanti’s lab at Brigham & Women’s Hospital (part of Harvard Medical School). Chuck has some very interesting trial results in dogs with stem cell treatments for spinal cord injury.


  2. vltyler2 Says:

    Hi Marilyn, I’m with you 1000%!! Since my son’s accident in 1996, we have been in the same boat you are in. We are thrilled to see so much progress and want to help anyway we can to move the research forward. Happy New Year!!


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