My support for stem cell research has its foundation in my deep-seeded belief in reproductive rights for women. Since I came of age in the 1970ís, womenís reproductive rights and freedom have been continually eroded by federal and state legislation. That has been coupled with diminished government support and funding Ė ranging from access to abortion services to stem cell research. Because of that, I have volunteered time and donated money to help preserve these rights.
But last summer, my support for stem cell research became personal. During a mugging on the Cape, my stepson was shot by the assailant, resulting in a severed spinal cord at T-5. Heís now a parapalegic. The stem cell research that BRF is doing is laying the foundation for regenerative cell therapy that could potentially cure not only spinal cord injury victims like him, but an incredible range of diseases, from Parkinsonís to bone marrow cancer.
In our current divisive political environment, I donít believe we will see any support from either the federal government or the National Institute of Health for years to come. So itís up to us as individuals to move this initiative forward. Iíll bet thereís a personal connection for many of you as well. Please donate, volunteer and spread the word.
Victoria Staebler is a member of the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation's Board of Trustees. She is a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch and serves on the board of the Boston Club.