Skip to comments.Stem Cell Research: Interview with Joni Eareckson Tada (quadriplegic disagreed with Chris Reeve)
Posted on 10/11/2004 6:05:53 PM PDT by mountaineer
Q: How did you get involved in the debate on stem cell research?
A: Hardly a week goes by that people don't ask me, "Have you ever talked with Christopher Reeve? I saw him the other day on television and ..." People are curious about where I stand regarding the paralyzed actor's hope for a cure through what he calls therapeutic cloning. After all, I'm disabled. Don't I want a cure? I would love to walk. But 35 years of quadriplegia since a diving accident in 1967 has honed my perspective. I look at the broader implications of medical research as a double-edged sword.
Q: Why is the debate on stem cell research so important to you?
A: Some today are aggressively promoting research using stem cells derived from human embryos that are clones or frozen discards from fertility clinics. But I want people to know that not all Americans with disabilities believe in using human embryos. ...
(Excerpt) Read more at joniandfriends.org ...
A: Most Americans, out of a mixed sense of sympathy and awe, look at people in wheelchairs and think: Who would want to deny them a cure? No one better understands the desire for a cure than I do, as a quadriplegic who has lived in a wheelchair for decades. But even Christopher Reeve's chances for a cure are more realistic using adult stem-cell therapies. For every study he may cite, I can point to scores of success stories using adult stem-cell therapies: At the Washington Medical Center in Seattle, physicians successfully treated 26 rapidly deteriorating multiple sclerosis patients with each patient's own bone marrow stem cells. Of the 26, six improved and 20 stabilized. Here's another example. A Los Angeles neurosurgeon harvested stem cells from the brain of a Parkinson's patient. The doctor cultured the cells and a small percentage of those cells matured into dopamine-secreting neurons. He injected six million cultured cells back into his patient's brain. One year later, the patient's symptoms were down by 83 percent. It's a phenomenal success story, but few in the news media picked up on this breakthrough.
Q: But in the long run, isn't embryonic stem-cell research more promising?
A: The question should not be which is more promising. Instead, what is right and good for our future? Researchers still make conflicting discoveries. Stanford University Medical Center said that stem cells taken from adult bone marrow do not have the ability to evolve as to those from human embryos. But the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota found another variety of bone marrow stem-cells that may develop into almost any type of cellular tissue in the body. This finding means a physician could use a patient's own cells in therapy, to lower the dangers of immune rejections or tumors. This practice promises to be more cost-effective, safer and more ethical. ...
[end of excerpt]
My comments: I thought the death of Christopher Reeve, John Kerry's efforts to exploit the conditions of Reeve and Michael J. Fox by misstating the facts about stem cell research and the current level of confusion over the issue made posting this interview timely and potentially helpful.
For those unfamiliar with Joni, her website introduces her as follows:
A diving injury in 1967 left Joni (pronounced Johnny) Eareckson Tada paralyzed from the neck down. After spending an extended time rehabilitating and questioning the meaning of life, she found immense hope and peace in God through Jesus Christ. As Joni explored the promises of God she discovered that suffering has profound meaning in our lives and that pain, as difficult as it may be, has a purpose. Since that time her life has become a living example that God is sovereign, faithful, and good.
Joni has written several award winning books, created many beautiful paintings with a mouth brush, and is featured on a daily radio broadcast heard around the world. A film of her autobiography was produced in 1979 and has been translated into several languages....
Joni and her husband Ken married in 1982 and make their home in southern California. Ken retired after thirty-two years of teaching and now serves as Director of Ministry Development at Joni and Friends. (a ministry to the disabled, including the provision of wheelchairs to the needy throughout the world). link
Charles Krauthammer on Brit's show tonight was particularly good on this point.
Called Kerry's & Edwards position on this what it is: DEMAGOGUERY.
Thanks for this.
Bless Joni for speaking out on this issue! She's originally from my old neighborhood and I heard her speak many years ago.
Thanks for posting.
Warning...Salty Language on the blog.
What is it with John Fonda Kerry and the crips? First he uses Stumpy Cleland as a prop and now he has to drag Christopher Reeve in when discussing stem cells. Two things:
1. The lady made a point. So far adult stem cells have shown far more promise than embryonic stem cells.
2. Christopher Reeve is never gonna walk again without mechanical assistance. Even if they could magically get his nerves (which are upper motor neurons) to grow across the scar tissue in his spinal cord and regenerate all the way down the cord they would then have to regenerate the nerves (lower motor neurons) outside the cord. Everything below his level of injury is completely dead and gone. As a crip myself I keep track of this sh*t. We are years away from regrowing upper and lower motor neurons from scratch which is what would have to take place.
Just for context, here's a pic of Joni:
Krauthammer is disabled too, isn't he? I can't remember.
I've recently read her latest, "The God I Love," and it's a wonderful book.
a bump and a ping!
Kerry is despicable.
I would hope that if I ever fell off of a horse and broke my neck that I would not advocate destroying a "fetus" - to me a living child - in hopes of possibly curing my quadriplegia. Christopher Reeve, though I mourn his disability and his death, was a misguided activist!
Yes he is.
That's alright, Karma is such a harsh mistress.
My sister is alive because of ADULT stem cell research. She was told in November 1989 that it could very well be her last Christmas.
The docs suggested a bone marrow transplant as a last resort. I was the donor; extracting the bone marrow required 2 nights in the hospital, and a surgical procedure under general anesthesia. It was several weeks before I was really back to normal. But the transplant worked - at least for over a decade.
Then the cancer came back. She needed a "booster" - stem cells from me. This time there was no need for invasive surgery. They hooked me up to a plasmapheresis machine, and I watched movies for the day while the harvested the cells. Instead of surgery, I had a needle in each arm for 6 or 7 hours. Instead of general anesthesia, I was offered an Ativan - if I needed it. Pain? Only what you'd expect if you give blood. I left the hospital and went out to dinner.
We've had to do it again - the second time it took 2 days; but still, no surgery. No down time or recovery time for me - just the time I needed to be hooked up to the machine.
The difference? Researchers had learned how to extract stem cells from the blood stream, instead of having to actually go into the bones and extract the marrow.
Adult stem cell research is ALREADY saving lives; many adults and children are here today because of that research. And no unborn babies died so they could live.
Adult stem cells = minor inconvenience and minor discomfort for the donor who is doing this voluntarily
Exmryonic stem cells = an unborn baby never has the opportunity to live - and he/she has no say in the matter.
Looks pretty obvious to me which is the more ethical choice.
Yes I agree. His payback is coming in spades. I watched a clip of him on tv today and looks like a sharpei's butt when it sits down.
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