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If a 20-word letter might rescue five million people from paralysis-- would you write it?

If your answer was yes, then help me now.


By Don C. Reed

If a 20-word letter might rescue five million people from paralysis— would you write it?

If your answer was yes, then help me now.

First, America has more than five and half million children and adults suffering from paralysis.  To verify this, cut and paste the following into your browser bar:

How do we fight that?

Pass California’s Assembly Bill 714 (Wieckowski, D-Fremont) and get that research moving again.

AB 714 would restore $2 million a year into paralysis cure research, a California program called the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999, named after my paralyzed son. “Roman’s law” did a great job for ten years, unanimously approved by the Assembly, Senate, and Governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger-- and then, in 2010, its funding was removed.

Assembly Bill 714 would put that money back. (for non-partisan analysis, see:

No matter where you live, if you want to see paralysis cured in our lifetime, here is something small but powerful you can do to help.

Write a one-sentence action letter. You can write more if you want, of course, but all we really need is a short note, ideally a FAX to: (916) 319-2143.  

Here is the letter.

“Dear Chairman Gatto: please support Assembly Bill 714 (Wieckowski, D-Fremont), restoring funding to the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act.”


Your Name

Or, send the same message by email to:  

The California Assembly Appropriations Committee will decide if AB 714 goes forward or dies. Chairman Mike Gatto will dominate the decision.  

Would you like him to say yes to paralysis cure?  Send him a FAX or e-mail.

But you are too busy?  Of course you are: we all have more chores to do than we can get done.

But here are 90 of the world’s busiest people. They squeezed in the time somehow; maybe you can do the  same.

Most supported us with an endorsement letter: like Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, five-time world champion in full contact karate. You might have seen him in movies (usually as the villain) fighting Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan—Bill Wallace wrote one of our very first letters of support, back when “Roman’s Law” was just beginning.

Others helped in different ways. U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi, clearly one of the busiest women on the planet, gave several hours of her life to attend the American Paralysis Association dinner, when Roman and I received the Willie Shoemaker award for advancing awareness of paralysis. Ms. Pelosi sat beside my wife Gloria and our son, and maybe her phone was ringing all night, but Leader Pelosi was there.  

Sadly, some are gone from us, like Christopher “Superman” Reeve, and General “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf—but their shining example still lights our way.

I wish we could use the same letters over and over again, but we cannot.  Every new bill requires a new letter. So every campaign I must reach out, and ask for help again…

Here are some of the world’s busiest people, who stood up for paralysis cure.  

Paul Berg (Nobel Prize winner), Stanford University School of Medicine;

Jeffrey A. Bluestone, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, University of California, San Francisco;

Rayilyn Brown, Arizona Chapter National Parkinson Foundation;

Nancy Brackett, University of Miami School of Medicine;

Dr. Jacqueline Bresnahan (UCSF), Dr. Mike Beattie (UCSF), co-inventors of Beattie-Bresnahan Scale;

Nina Brown, Founding Board member, Lorraine Chammah, President,
Texans for Advancement of Medical Research;

California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s Chair Jonathan Thomas;

Susan Chandler, Treasurer, California Disability Rights Organization;

Dr. Jose Cibelli, Champion Michigan research leader;

Ellen Corbett, California Senate Leader;

Stemcyte, President Calvin Cole;

California Chiropractic Association, Kassie Donoghue, DC, Government Affairs Chair;

Dr. Graham Creasey (Palo Alto VA & Stanford);

W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D., Miami Project to Cure Paralysis;

John Dutra, (D-Fremont, retired) original author of the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999;

V. Reggie Edgerton, UCLA Professor, Brain Research Institute;

Brooke Ellison,(Christopher Reeve’s last project was directing a movie about paralyzed Brooke);

Dr. Michael Fehlings (University of Toronto);

Lucy Fisher and Doug Wick, executives at Sony Pictures;

Jeannie Fontana, CEO SALSA, Inc. Solutions for ALS;

Eric Fingerhut, Chancellor, University System of Ohio;

University of California, Karen French, Associate Director, Legislative Affairs;

John Garamendi, U.S. House of Representatives;

Leeza Gibbons, former Host of Entertainment Tonight, founder of Leeza’s Place;

Lawrence Goldstein, Director, UCSD Stem Cell Program;

Stu Gordon, Gordon and Rees, LLP;

Molly Ingraham, of the California Healthcare Institute (CHI, representing more than 100 biomedical companies);

Hans Keirstead, UC-Irvine Professor, Chair, Scientific Advisory Board, California Stem Cell, Inc.;

Marc Keahey, Alabama Senate Minority Leader;

Stephanie A. Kolakowsky-Hayner, Director of Rehab Research, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center;

Suzy Kim, Medical Director, SCI Acute Care, UCI Medical Center;

Bob Klein, Founder, Proposition 71, the Californians for Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, Chairman Emeritus of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee;

Dr. Paul Knoepfler (UC Davis), world’s only blogging stem cell scientist;

Dena Ladd, Executive Director, Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures;

Sherry Lansing, Chair, Sherry Lansing Foundation, Winner Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award;

Dr. Jane Lebkowski (Neuralstem Cell Inc);

Stem Cells Inc., Martin McGlynn, President & CEO;

Dr. Stephen McKenna (Santa Clara Valley Medical Hospital);

Karen Miner, Chair, Research for Cure;

Ed Monuki, Associate Professor, UC Irvine;

Chris Murphy, United States Senator, Connecticut;

Rania Nasis, General Manager, CA Stem Cell, Inc.;

Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor, California;

Dr. Jan Nolta (UC Davis);

Richard Patterson, M.D., Santa Clara Valley Medical Center;

Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, House of Representatives;

Renee A Reijo Pera, Director of Reproductive and Stem Cell Biology Division, Stanford University;

John Perez, CA Assembly Speaker;  

Dan Perry, President, CEO, Alliance for Aging Research, Washington, DC;

Claire Pomeroy, Chief Executive Officer, UC Davis Health Department;

The late Christopher Reeve, “Superman” in movies, champion of advocates;

Brock Reeve, Executive Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, (and Christopher Reeve’s brother);

Bill Remak, Chairman, California Hepatitis Task Force;

Duane Roth, CEO, CONNECT, entrepreneurial group;

Rose Marie Salerno, VA Palo Alto Health Care System;

Lori Sames, Executive Director, Hannah’s Hope Fund;

The late General Norman “Stormin’ Norman” Schwartzkopf, retired;

Bernie Siegel, founder and chair, Stem Cell Action Coalition (70 groups), and Genetics Policy Institute, founder World Stem Cell Summit;

Dr. Jerry Silver (Case Western);

Marilyn Smith, Executive Director, Unite 2 Fight Paralysis;

Michael Sofroniew, M.D., Professor, UCLA;

US Representative Eric Swallwell;

Texans for Stem Cell Research, David L. Bales, Chairman;

Dr. Ann Tsukamoto (Stem Cells Inc);

Dr. Marc Tuczynski (UCSD);

Jim Bennett, Spinal Cord Injury Research Foundation, Rutgers University, New Jersey;

Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, undefeated 5-time full-contact World Karate Champion;

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Peter T. Wilderotter, President & CEO;

Dr. Irv Weissman, Stem Cell Inc.;

Steve Westly, Former CA Comptroller;

Christi Yamaguchi, Olympic Gold Medalist, figure skating;

Shinya Yamanaka, Ph.D  (inventor of induced Pluripotent Stem cells), Director, Center for iPS Cell Research and Applications, Kyoto University, Japan;

Wise Young, Rutgers University, pioneer of spinal cord injury research for cure, co-inventor of methylprednisolone, and 4-AP, currently developing clinical trials for cordblood and lithium in China;

Mark Yudof, former President of the University of California;

Fanyi Zheng, Professor and Associate Director, Shanghai Stem Cell Institute, Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, China;

Jerry Zucker (movie director, Ghost, Airplane, Naked Gun), Founding board member, CURESNOW;

Still others who helped the cause of spinal cord injury research for cure: Dr. Leif Havton (UCI), Dr. Deepak Srivistava (Gladstone Institute), Dr. Evan Snyder (Sanford Burnham), Dr. Tim Wick (UAB),  Dr. Gary Steinberg (Stanford),  professional athletes Brent Jones and Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49’ers, television personality Gary Stevens, TJ Atchison (first paralyzed person in the world to receive embryonic stem cells in his spine), Tory Minus, vice president Alabama Institute of Medicine,  three great fire-fighters--Hayward Fire Chief Garrett Contreras, Fremont Fire Chief Dan Lydon (Ret.), Firefighter of the Year Jeff Leonard-- folks at EKSO Bionics and  Bay BIO, and thousands more, wheelchair warriors Fran Lopes, Karen Miner and Susan Rotchy of Research for Cure, and thousands more friends and family—
--and, hopefully—you!

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Comment Preferences

  •  The all caps = yelling . (0+ / 0-)

    Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

    by indycam on Tue May 14, 2013 at 09:39:47 AM PDT

    •  Send it to kos mail (0+ / 0-)

      Look at how your comment looks, the poster now sees the first comment as a critique of themselves instead of dialogue discussing the post.

      •  A critique of themselves ? (0+ / 0-)
        Send it to kos mail
        Here or there same message . No need for it to be hidden . I've noticed some comments of yours that have been odd in my opinion , but I have said nothing .

        Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

        by indycam on Tue May 14, 2013 at 10:07:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for bringing this to our attention (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    I'm not based in California, so not sure whether input from elsewhere will get noticed, but here are some example short letters for others to use:

    Dear Chairman Gatto: please move on behalf of those who cannot to support Assembly Bill 714 restoring funding to the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act.

    Dear Chairman Gatto: imagine curing paralysis in our lifetime. You have the power to achieve this by supporting Assembly Bill 714. Thank you.

    Dear Chairman Gatto: on behalf of paralyzed Americans relying on Spinal Cord Injury Research for hope, please support Assembly Bill 714.

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Tue May 14, 2013 at 10:17:08 AM PDT

  •  Sigh. (0+ / 0-)

    If I did not "suffer" from paralysis:
    --I would never have met my wife
    --I would not ever have fought for minority rights
    --I would not own an extremely cool wheelchair
    --I would not have the most incredible co-workers.

    True, the baggage sucks, but I would never go back. If you're going to cure something, start with bigotry, inaccessibility, the nursing home lobby. Oh yeah, add physician assisted suicide to the mix. rant over.

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