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Thank You, Sen. Stabenow

by: LiberalLucy

Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 14:55:14 PM EDT

I got an email from a friend last night telling me he heard Sen. Debbie Stabenow mention my name on the Senate Floor. When it was clear he wasn't joking, I decided to do a little digging.

I had emailed Senator Stabenow's office about six months ago, urging her to continue to support stem cell research. My stake in this debate is a bit more selfish, as I've nearly died more times than I've care to count as a result of one of the most severe cases of Crohn's Disease ever seen by many of Michigan's doctors. In fact, for full disclosure, being so sick with Crohn's is what inspired my foray into blogging and politics in the first place. At last count, I've been hospitalized over 70 times and had 35 surgeries. Needless to say I'm lucky to be alive.

There is no known cause for Crohn's and no cure. Those of us with Crohn's are just stuck with it, subject to the medical profession's highly paid guessing. There are some who manage their disease through medicine and diet, and others like me, who must have major portions of their digestive tract removed and learn to adapt to life despite our permanent disability, as the government classifies us. Then there are others, too many, who die.

Living with Crohn's for almost 13 years now I know more about it than most doctors. I can tell you the latest medicines, treatments, theories, and the famous among us (including Dubya's younger brother) who suffer. I can also tell you that the only promising future for curing this incredibly destructive disease lies in stem cell research. My life's struggle in staying alive, staying active, and staying focused on the future and living the rest of my life with this disease also means fighting for a cure.

LiberalLucy :: Thank You, Sen. Stabenow
Day in and day out, I write on these blogs asking you to get involved in your government, making it work for you, and engaging our public servants in serving the us, the people. Today, I offer you one more piece of proof why I so firmly believe in the power of civic engagement.

From Senator Stabenow's Senate Floor Speech:

As co-chair of the Senate bipartisan Parkinson's Caucus, I've received letters and calls from people all across our great nation on how important stem cell research is to them, how important this legislation, this opportunity at this time is to them and their families. I've met many Michigan families who deal with chronic health issues every single day.


Another bright young woman who visited my office several times is Julielyn Gibbons. For over 12 years, Julielyn has lived with Crohn's diseases - a disease that causes intense abdominal pain. For her, stem cell research offers the promise of not only curing this life-long, debilitating disease, but also the hope of being able to live a normal life. She emailed me, `I want to be able to bring children into the world knowing that they won't have to suffer as I have and that possibility best exists through stem cell research.' S. 5, a strong bipartisan bill, is an important, in fact, a critical step forward toward giving Julielyn and Kate that hopeful future that we all want for our children.


Hopefully we will not have many more people that will be seeing their lives deteriorate or lose their lives before we are able to actually begin to do what needs to be done with this research. It's for them and for all the families I've met that I will cast my vote this week: a vote for life, for hope, for a bright future. I know that the cures won't come tomorrow, but they may never come if we do not act now.

Last night, the Senate passed the bill 63-34.

Thank you, Senator Stabenow, for fighting for me, and for all those who suffer like me. Thank you for reaffirming my faith in my government, in my state and in my country.

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Thought you might find this interesting: From Michigan Right to Life (out of all places)
Type 1 Diabetes patients successfully treated with their own stem cells

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a group of patients with Type 1 diabetes, were experimentally treated in Brazil with their own stem cells. Thirteen out of the fifteen young people who received transplants using their own stem cells  were able to go without insulin for extended periods, ranging from six months to three years. The patients involved were between the ages of 14 to 31 and newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. One of the patients tested, a 30 year old male, has not taken insulin since the transplant which was 3 years ago. Much more extensive testing and development of this treatment method is needed. Yet with as many as 3 million struck with this disease in the United States alone, this medical first, using ethical sources of stem cells, is a huge step towards a cure.

For more information:

LifeFacts is a periodic information update from the Right to Life of Michigan Legislative Office. Contact us by replying here or call us at 487-3376. 

You go LL
You've been such a powerhouse around here that I forgot about your disability.  My dad has Crohn's, had surgery for it about 20 years ago, luckily no ostomy, just had a length of his ileum removed.  He's 74 now and just finished putting all new vinyl siding on their house.

Props for Sen. Stabenow on this one, too.

I'm not that eartha - or that one either

Stay Strong Lucy
I had UC in my early 20s and had a full colectomy.  I'm a big CCFA member now and doing just fine.  I wish you all the best.

Steve Pestka for Congress

The power of sharing a story is incredible!
In the few short hours since I posted this on my blog, here and Daily Kos, some truly incredible things have transpired.

Check out the post on Daily Kos, and then read some of the comments. Read how many other lives have been touched by an illness that could be cured or prevented by stem cell research.

There was one comment in particular that gave me goosebumps. Titled "Misdiagnosed...OMG!" it is something that you need to read.

The power of educating and advocating is ours to share. So many of us, some without a voice of their own, are counting on us to be good citizens and continue to make sure our government works for us.

I hope that Rep. Andy Meisner and other state legislators will continue to take up this fight here in Lansing. There's no doubt the graveness of the situation and the many lives this issue affects.

I want to change the world, not help people adjust to it. - Millie Jeffrey, MI - National Women's labor and Democratic activist, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

Support embryonic stem cell research and be aware of false promises.

I knew you were a fighter, but?DAMN.

Thanks for being an inspiration on a cause that I have worked on since working in the State House.  While I cannot imagine the hope that embryonic stem cell research provides to patients who live with debilitating diseases such as Crohns, Diabetes, and Parkinsons, or conditions like spinal cord injuries, I am inspired to work harder to make this happen.

Many Michiganders are not aware that Michigan has restrictions on stem cell research that are MORE severe than the federal rules.  Michigan is so restrictive that should a breakthrough take place in California or elsewhere, patients will have to travel outside the state to receive treatment.

As far as the recent "breakthrough" in juvenile diabetes as mentioned above by a good blogger, I want to caution those who may think that a breakthrough using only adult stem cell research is on the horizon.

As those who follow the multitude of votes held at the federal level on this topic may have noticed, every time there is a vote, there is a "breakthrough" in other forms of research.

These "breakthroughs" are really red herring's or diversions meant to make people think that embryonic stem cell research is unnecessary. 

Only embryonic stem cells are "pluripotent", meaning they can grow to become any other type of cell in the human body.  Adult stem cells, while useful, are much more limited and generally can only grow into the tissues from which they are harvested.

The diversion list is long:

-It started with the adult stem cell diversion, where a pro-life quack has claimed and repeatedly claims there are 70 adult stem cell treatments, which in reality there are about nine.  The rest of the list is made up of experiments and dangerous experimental procedures done around the world.

-Then there was the umbilical cord breakthrough.  Like adult stem cell research, it's important, we should continue to study it, but umbilical cord cells do not have the potential that embryonic has, as umbilical cord blood cells are essentially adult stem cells.

-More recently, there was the amniotic cord blood debate.  This research is so new, that while it may result in some sort of treatment, according to docs in the field it cannot be called a breakthrough.

-The most recent is the "dead embryo" research pushed by U.S. Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota, who is looking for political cover so Al Franken won't kick his ass out of office.  Once again, this is a non-science meant to look like a compromise.

Thanks for all of the support for the research from this community.  Hopefully one day Michiganders will have the same rights as patients around the world and Michigan's Life Sciences Corridor will be allowed to use their great minds for this promising research.


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