Purchase the book Right to Recover

Right to Recover ~ Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America presents scientific facts that challenge readers to think for themselves rather than accept political or religious views on stem cell research.


This book is available by request in bookstores nationwide.

RIGHT TO RECOVER is an Award-Winning Finalist in the Current Events: Political/Social of the National Best Books 2007 Awards. Amazon Best-selling book in biomedical category.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Who do you most trust to support children with special needs?

• Obama-Biden


• McCain-Palin

Special Needs Truth '08 has a poll where you may vote on this issue and see the candidates' positions on autism and disabilities.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Disability Advocates: Republicans or Democrats?

Oregon state legislator Sara Gelser, a disability advocate and the mother of a girl with developmental disabilities, examines the candidates' records and says: "Being the parent of a child with Down syndrome does not ensure that Palin will be an effective advocate for people with disabilities, any more than Dick Cheney being the parent of a lesbian daughter has made him an effective advocate for equality."

The McCain/Palin campaign has not articulated any plan to improve the health and independence of people with disabilities. In contrast, the Obama campaign has a multi-page plan that talks about the needs of people with disabilities and their families and specifically addresses housing, education, health care, employment and discrimination.

Read "Empty Promises to Desperate Parents" by Rep. Sara Gelser.

Also see Special Needs Truth '08


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sarah Palin and Christopher Reeve: A Special Needs Parent Speaks Out

According to Sarah Palin, if John McCain is elected President, she will be put in charge of cure research.

Governor Palin states: “John and I have worked out a plan… My mission is going to be energy security and government reform. And another thing near and dear to my heart, it’s going to be helping families who have special needs and children with special needs. And we’re going to be pushing for innovative cures of diseases.”

*Innovative cures? Special needs families? As far as I know, Governor Palin’s only background in either area is that she opposes embryonic stem cell research-- and that she has a six-month old baby with Down’s Syndrome.

At age 44, Ms. Palin chose to have a fifth child. When she found out the unborn child had Down’s Syndrome, she chose to continue with the pregnancy.

Fair enough. Those were her choices, and choice is important for every woman.

But does she have any knowledge of the real world of special needs families?

Right now, her baby requires only normal infant care: to be fed and changed and loved. When the “special needs” part of his life begins, Governor Palin’s income level will allow her to hire nannies and servants to care for her child.

Most of us do not have Ms. Palin’s advantages. For millions of American families, having a “special needs” member (a mentally or physically disabled person, old or young) means exhausting physical labors of care-giving, endless emotional stress, and bills we cannot afford.

At the age of nineteen, my son Roman Reed broke his neck in a college football accident. He was paralyzed from the shoulders down. The doctors gave us no hope: Roman would never walk again, they said: never close his fingers, probably never father a child; and, due to his shortened life expectancy, his mother Gloria and I might outlive our own son.

Before this happened, if I saw a person in a wheelchair, I never stopped to think how they got there. Who lifted them out of bed in the morning, helped them take a shower? Did they need assistance to use the rest room, to get dressed? Could they breathe on their own? If not, who changes the battery in their respirator? Who helps them turn over in bed during the night? Will she or he need to be institutionalized? If so, who will pay?

Many families break up under this stress. John McCain, for example, divorced his first wife when she became disabled.

If Ms. Palin truly wanted to be the “friend and advocate of special needs families”, as she so perkily promised at the Republican Convention, she could begin by opposing John McCain’s negative position on the Community Choice Act, which he says we cannot afford. The Community Choice Act would allow people with disabilities to receive government assistance at home, with their families, instead of being institutionalized.

We do know Ms. Palin is in favor of government assistance, at least for herself, as she personally requested and received more than three hundred days travel pay (per diem) even though she was not actually traveling on those days.

In addition to care for special needs individuals, America must work for cures.

My family knows about this, up close and personal. California passed a law named after our son, the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999. It is just a small law, one and a half million dollars a year—but it made possible the nation’s first state-funded embryonic stem cell research.

On March 1, 2002 , opening day of the Roman Reed Laboratory at UC Irvine, I held in my hand a laboratory rat which had been paralyzed, but which now walked again-- and this while my son watched from his wheelchair.

The experiment was so successful that Geron Corporation funded further work on it, taking it all the way to the Food and Drug Administration, where it is currently being considered for human trials. If all goes well, newly paralyzed people may one day have the chance my son did not—to walk out of the hospital, instead of being condemned to a wheelchair for life.

Far more importantly, California voters passed a magnificent stem cell research program, to fund the science President George Bush so cruelly restricted.

And it was our son who suggested the official motto for that program, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, (CIRM): “Turning stem cells into cures.”

Today, we have hope. But it would all be swept away by Sarah Palin.

Embryonic stem cell research would quite literally become against the law if Sara Palin and the GOP get their way. The official Republican platform calls for the complete prohibition of embryonic stem cell research, both public and private; even George Bush did not take such an extreme position.

Not only paralysis cure is at risk. We are fighting for relief from cancer, which killed my mother and older sister. Embryonic stem cell research is crucial in the battle against Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, stroke, diabetes, blindness—and Down’s Syndrome. In England , where the government supports it, embryonic stem cell research led to a clearer understanding of the causes of Down’s Syndrome, an important step towards cure.

Which brings us to another choice for Sarah Palin—when cure does come, will she allow her son to become well?

She might say no. There are people who do not accept medical treatment for religious reasons. X-rays were originally frowned on by some, because it was thought they might be used to see through women’s clothing. Others said chicken pox was God’s punishment for sin, and it was wrong to develop a vaccine to cure it. Even today folks may refuse blood transfusions; others believe in the power of healing by faith alone-- as is their right.

But should religion be allowed to block my son’s chances to walk again?

American families deserve access to the best care science can provide: to ease suffering and save the lives of our children, our brothers and sisters, and our neighbors too.

Our country has an estimated one hundred million citizens with incurable disease or disability. These are not just empty statistics, but our loved ones, members of your family and mine. They are the reason America supports stem cell research.

Also, we are plain common sense practical. We see the results of too many people not getting well. Last year, America spent $2 trillion dollars on health care—a mountain of money, more than all federal income taxes put together. Three-fourths of that went to the maintenance of people with chronic disease or disability, who will never be healed: except, perhaps, with stem cell research.

If we want affordable health care, we must support cure research.

We will not be tricked into believing there are alternatives to embryonic stem cells that are just as good. Those arguments have been made for years. They were not true then, and they are not true now. If there is a cure for paralysis, fine: show it to me. But until then, politicians should not insult my intelligence by pretending those cures exist.

To understand what an extreme position Sarah Palin and the Republican Party are taking on stem cell research, we need only compare the lists of groups who argued about a simple bipartisan bill expanding President Bush’s restrictive embryonic stem cell research policies: the Stem Cell Research Expansion Act (Castle,DeGette).

First, how many groups opposed the relaxation of restrictions? Seventeen. That’s right, seventeen: and every one was a conservative religious and/or ideological organization.

How many groups supported embryonic stem cell research? Five hundred and eighteen: every major scientific, educational, medical or patient rights group that took a position on the issue, including the American Medical Association.

I do not think Ms. Palin has a lot of scientific background.

For example, as Governor of Alaska, she wanted to spend several million dollars of taxpayer money killing wolves, shooting them from airplanes, figuring that would result in more moose for human hunters to kill. As wolves actually protect the moose population by killing the weak and sick, thereby preventing the spread of disease, Palin’s plan to wipe out natural predators does not make a great deal of sense.

But her wolf-slaughter policy does remind me of something a farmer once said.

A fox in the henhouse will kill a chicken, he said, maybe take one along to eat later.

But a weasel will go blood crazy-- and kill every chicken in the coop.

John McCain says he supports embryonic stem cell research. But to please the anti-science wing of his party, he would let an enemy of the research have influence over it.

Giving Sarah Palin power over research, is like tossing a weasel in the henhouse-- and pretending it will only supervise.

Enough. As Barrack Obama said, in a one-word rejection of failed policies: enough.

I am tired of a White House which does not reflect my hopes for a better America . I want a President who will work on the problems with the idea of really solving them, not just smiling and waving at us from a platform.

And one thing more. I want to see the fulfillment of Christopher Reeve’s great dream. Years ago, our local school did a fundraiser for the paralyzed Superman. I wrote a play, and the kids in my multicultural club (True Colors) produced it, giving up their lunchtime all year to make it happen. We put on the play, charged admission, and sent $2,000 to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. It wasn’t much, but it came from the heart, and Superman responded.

In a dictated letter our family will always treasure, Christopher Reeve said:

“One day, Roman and I will rise up from our wheelchairs, and walk away from them forever.”

Cure did not come in time for Christopher Reeve. Our champion has fallen. But the flame of his faith still lights our way. Barack Obama has taken up the torch of scientific freedom, the power that lifted us to the moon, and accepts no limitations.

America will prevail.

Don C. Reed Sponsor, Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act Founder and Co-Chair, Californians for Cures Don Reed is also Vice President of Public Policy for Americans for Cures Foundation; opinions voiced here as an individual may or may not reflect those of the Foundation.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Wisconsin Stem Cell Leaders Release New Report on Medical Research

Stem cell “primer” meant to define parameters for policy and political debate

MILWAUKEE September 18, 2008 – The state’s leading advocacy group dedicated solely to support for all forms of medical research released a report today outlining the continuing need for embryonic stem cell research. The report, entitled “Stem Cell Research in Wisconsin: A Primer on Science, Funding, Ethics and Advocacy,” will be posted on their website at http://www.wistemcellnow.org and distributed publicly in advance of the World Stem Cell Summit to be held this weekend and next week in Madison.

“Recent advances in stem cell research have excited researchers and given renewed hope to families facing chronic disease,” said Ed Fallone, President of Wisconsin Stem Cell Now. “But these advances should not come at the cost of abandoning embryonic stem cell research – rather, we must invest at every level in the fight to cure Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and a host of other diseases faced by tens of millions of American families.”
The “Stem Cell Primer” released today by Wisconsin Stem Cell Now addresses the scientific underpinnings of, and the ethical case for, the various forms of stem cell research, as well as the case for increased investment in the research and the advocacy necessary to move it to the next level.

“The research avenues that are pursued should be determined by scientists, not those seeking to impose their religious and political views on scientific inquiry,” said Fallone. “All current forms of stem cell research, including embryonic stem cell research, are ethical and should be funded.”
In recent months, stem cell pioneer Dr. Jamie Thomson, a University of Wisconsin-Madison-based researcher, successfully “reprogrammed” skin cells to mimic the qualities of embryonic stem cells. However, Dr. Thomson and other top researchers have repeatedly insisted that his discovery does not reduce the need to invest in traditional embryonic stem cell research, as well as other forms of stem cell research.

Wisconsin Stem Cell Now is an all-volunteer effort, and includes medical doctors, business leaders and academics. Prominent members of the Wisconsin Stem Cell Now board include both Republicans and Democrats, and many of Wisconsin Stem Cell Now’s members are affected by, or have family members affected by, chronic disease, such as diabetes, paralysis, cancer and heart disease. “This week, Wisconsin is proud to host the World Stem Cell Summit,” said Fallone. “We must meet the challenge posed to us as a people, and commit more resources to finding the cures of disease, with the science taking us where we need to go.”


Sachin Chheda
4230 North Oakland Avenue, Suite 249
Shorewood, Wisconsin 53211-2042


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stem Cells and John McCain's First Wife

By Don C. Reed

When Bill Clinton fooled around, the Republicans fought with all their strength to impeach him. .

But when John McCain cheated on his crippled wife, the GOP nominated him for President.

Did you know about McCain’s first wife? A former swimsuit model, Carol McCain was tall, willowy, beautiful—until a terrible car accident.

Flung through the windshield of her car, Carol McCain lay on the frozen ground all night. Her pelvis was broken. Both legs and an arm were shattered, she had massive internal injuries— the doctors despaired for her life.

Fortunately for Carol , Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot took over her medical bills: paying for her six months in hospital-- and 23 operations, necessary just to keep her alive. So many bone fragments had to be removed from her body that she lost five inches in height.

Carol McCain was disabled for life.

So when John McCain came home from the war in Viet Nam , how did he stand by the woman he promised to love and cherish till death did them part?

He began cheating on her, systematically and casually, with a variety of women.

Finally the still married McCain chose Carol’s replacement, the movie-star-gorgeous Cindy, heiress to a fortune.

He divorced Carol, married the heiress one month later, and his new father-in-law gave him a job as an executive at his beer company—and John McCain was rich.

H. Ross Perot had this to say:

“McCain is the classic opportunist… always reaching for attention and glory. When he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money…”
—“The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind”, Sharon Churcher, Daily Mail UK , June 8, 2008 .

To this day, Carol remains loyal to McCain, who pays her medical bills.

Now some people feel that McCain, as a former prisoner of war, is not to be criticized. Democrats always acknowledge John McCain’s service, unlike the Rove-Republican attack machine and their Swift Boating tactics, continually smearing John Kerry’s heroism in the same war.

But to my way of thinking, the fact that John McCain was a prisoner of war does not mean we forget everything else about the man.

John McCain deserves to be judged on his actions, his record, his positions and choices, and how his decisions will affect all our lives.

First, let me state my personal bias: why John McCain’s essential abandonment of a disabled person affects me so deeply.

My son Roman Reed is disabled, a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down because of a college football accident.

Every day I try to do something to advance the cause of stem cell research, because I know it works.

I have seen it. On March 1, 2002 , I held in my hand a laboratory rat which had been paralyzed, but which walked again, thanks to embryonic stem cells. That was in the Reeve-Irving Research Center , University of California at Irvine .

It has been so frustrating, these past eight years, having an anti-science President in the White House. The policies of George Bush policies are based on ideology and ultra-conservative religion, not the healing science our country so desperately needs.

But John McCain says he is different from Bush, that he supports embryonic stem cell research.

I don’t trust him.

Different from Bush? Not a whole lot. McCain co-signed Senator Sam Brownback’s bill to put scientists in jail for advanced stem cell research—he also chose Sarah Palin for his Vice President, and she is completely opposed.

With a new GOP platform calling for a complete ban on embryonic stem cell research, we could be worse off than we were under Bush.

McCain says one thing, and does another.

McCain says he supports the disabled—then votes against the Community Choice Act, which would have allowed disabled folks to be cared for in their own homes, instead of having to be institutionalized.

He likes to call himself a “maverick”, reminding us that he once dared to opposed President George Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. However, (and with McCain there is always a however) when it came time to gain his party’s nomination, he tossed that courage out the window. Now he wants to make those tax cuts permanent: as the rich get richer, the middle class gets pushed down into the ranks of poverty, and the poor are increasingly on their own.

He promised to run a respectful campaign, saying that he won’t talk trash about his rival—he just hires Karl Rove’s friends to do it. And did you see his face when his second in command when his second in command went into her carefully planned speech of character assassination. He was giggling like a schoolgirl when Ms. Lipstick Pitbull trashtalked Obama.

Did you notice how he first said he did not know anything about economics, but suddenly discovers he has all the answers?

He says he believes in freedom, but his second in command wants to censor library books, and fired a librarian who stood up to her.

McCain says he hates war, but pushed hard to get us involved in Iraq from the very beginning. That war cost us our economy. America went from being rich to being in debt. That was started by George Bush, and continued by John McCain, who promises more.

Granted, Iraq is quieter now; if you kill enough people it will definitely calm things down; graveyards are not noisy places.

“Maverick” McCain says he is against government wastefulness and corruption—so where are his speeches on the mountains of money lost, stolen, or mis-spent in Iraq, entire fork-lift pallets of money unaccounted for?

He even abandoned his enthusiasm for President Bush—in his acceptance speech he never mentioned the name of that man he once so publicly embraced, putting his cheek on the President’s chest.

As a former prisoner of war, McCain deserves respect.

But when he mentions his war record, which he does at any possible excuse, we should remember there are other veterans, whose interests he routinely votes against.

Like the soldiers in VA hospitals, who were recently told by the Bush Administration, that they can no longer be helped to register to vote.

The same veterans whose care John McCain so frequently votes against. They also were soldiers. Their heroism also deserves recognition.

Many are disabled, like John McCain’s first wife. They must not be abandoned.

America needs a President who will not only look out for everyone, but also try to make things better: to heal the ill and injured.

John McCain is not that man.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

VP Nominee's Statement about Stem Cell Research

Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Senator Joe Biden, made a comment regarding embryonic-stem-cell research at a rally in Columbia, Missouri on Tuesday. Senator Biden said:

"I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both...the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect. Well, guess what folks? If you care about it, why don't you support stem-cell research?"

His rival Republican vice-presidential nominee, Alaska Govenor Sarah Palin has an infant son with Down syndrome. She opposes ESC.

Read more about Obama's running mate and McCain's response to Senator Biden's comment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Epileptic Seizures Respond Positively to Stem Cell Treatment!

I got an email from Carolyn Ellefson in Okotoks, Alberta Canada. Her daughter, Hannah Rae, had been suffering from severe epileptic seizures. I am happy to report that Hannah has experienced a significant recovery thanks to stem cell treatments she received in the Dominican Republic. Stories like this one makes the writing of my book worthwhile!

During her search for information, Carolyn found the song Chuck Whiting and I wrote to accompany my book Right to Recover. She has a Web site www.hopeforhannah.ca to help raise awareness about Lennox Gastaut Syndrome and stem cell therapy. We are delighted that she will be using our Right to Recover song on her Web site.

With Carolyn's permission, I am sharing the email she sent to me and Chuck:

We were searching the internet tonight looking for current information on stem cell therapies in pediatric encephalopathy and happened upon your song. I must tell you that this song is absolutely the most amazing song I have ever heard. I can honestly say that no other song has ever had this effect on myself or my husband. We would be forever grateful if you would allow your song to be played on her site.

My daughter Hannah has had two stem cell treatments with Dr. Rader in the Dominican Republic. The first was on June 2007 and the second was December 2007. We are hoping to go for more. Before her first treatment she was having over 100 seizures per day, was severely mentally retarded, her speech was slurred and at times non-existent, and she had severe fine motor and gross motor delay.

Today, she is in a regular public school in her first year of Kindergarten. She walks, talks, rides a bike, swims, jumps on the trampoline, and is an angel! Stem Cell therapy changed her life. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for having the courage to fight for what is right. You are very courageous for doing so. We have the "Right to Recover!”

If you have a story about benefiting from stem cell treatment, we would love to hear from you!

No Need to Wait for Stem Cell Treatment

Did you know you can have stem cell treatment now? There is a proven stem cell treatment available in Mexico!

While US researchers and politicians debate the potential of stem cells, people in Mexico are actually being treated and healed with placental stem cell treatments that have been clinically tested by over 2,000 patients with a variety of conditions and disorders.

Thanks to International Stem Cell Institute (ISCI), there’s no need to wait until the FDA approves legislation to receive stem cell therapy. Stem cell treatment using non-controversial stem cells from placenta is already available in Mexico. People from around the world with a variety of conditions and diseases have received stem cell treatment for ALS, cancer, cerebral palsy, dermatomyositis, diabetes, gangrene, hepatitis C, HIV, immune deficiency, multiple sclerosis, migraines, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's, retinitis pigmentosa, rheumatoid arthritis, spina bifida, and stroke. The physician administering the stem cell treatment was trained by a physician in Europe where placental treatments have been done for 25 years.

A 51-year-old Houston woman named Diana Salinas was 32 when she had a kidney biopsy that returned a diagnosis of Nephrotic Syndrome (Glomerulonephrytis Proliferating Type II). This condition causes severe protein loss through the urine. Diana was losing up to 7,000 mgs of protein during a 24-hour period and was very sick. Her nephrologists expected that she would be in dialysis and/or have a kidney transplant within four to five years. She had edema all over her body including her lungs and had been taking 100 mgs of steroids for several years before she decided to try stem cell therapy.

In 1992, Diana came to ISCI in Mexico and had her first human placenta stem cell treatment. The 40-minute procedure requires a small incision to be made in various locations on the body and tissue is placed underneath the skin and closed with a suture. There are billions of stem cells in the tissue that go to work replacing damaged cells throughout the body. Within three months, Diana reported a decline in her urine protein levels. Her doctors were amazed when her blood tests showed that her kidney function was normal and told her to keep doing whatever she was doing. She continues to have one treatment per year to keep the disease in check. Today, her protein level is 85 mgs in a 24-hour period (normal range is up to 150 mgs) without edema or the use of steroids.

Stem cells are the foundation of normal growth and development of any organism and serve as a biological repair system for the body. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, a nerve cell, or a heart cell. Some research has indicated that placenta stem cells are multipotent which may explain the effectiveness of this treatment.

The placenta tissue, also known as afterbirth, comes from a hospital in Mexico. Once considered medical garbage, this tissue is now being harvested by the physician with mothers’ consent after delivering full-term, live, healthy babies. Since this tissue is taken after the baby is born, the fetus or embryo is in no way harmed by the collection of this leftover tissue. Once the placenta is harvested, extensive testing is performed by an independent lab to ensure the tissue is free of viruses. A certified laboratory performs tissue testing that exceeds the strict standards required by international law.

Since stem cells derived from placenta not capable of inducing a specific immune response, rejection of the stem cells is impossible. The placenta tissue is recognized and accepted by all patients and does not have to be typed; however, customized and strategic placement of the tissue is used to target specific conditions for each patient.

About ISCI: International Stem Cell Institute was launched in April 2008 as a result of 17 years of stem cell treatment experience. The company is managed by Rita Alexander, a businesswoman who has a desire to bring stem cell treatment to those who are suffering with a condition that has not responded to traditional medicine. ISCI assists with patient education, pre- and post-treatment support, travel logistics, and financial matters regarding treatment.

For more information about ISCI or to arrange a consultation or schedule an appointment, please visit http://www.iStemCelli.com.


Rita Alexander
Executive Director
International Stem Cell Institute