Disease isn’t standing still, waiting for cure

Disease isn't standing still, waiting for cure
On Sunday, July 9, CBS broadcast Saving Millie. This was the second time my husband and I had seen this movie. The tears seemed to appear quicker this time.

The touching drama is based on the best-selling book and real-life journey of political journalist, Mort Kondracke. The movie recounted the inspiring love story of Mort and Milly, and the dramatic change in their lives following her diagnosis with Parkinson's disease.

Millie had Parkinson's disease for 17 years and passed away in July 2004. It happened one week before my very first attendance to a Young-Onset Parkinson Conference in Minneapolis.

I was diagnosed five years ago. At that time, my neurologist said I was at stage 3 of 4 and that I should have nine years of good life yet, but not to worry, as there is a great possibility of a cure in the next five years. My five years has gone by, and there is still no cure.

On Thursday, June 29, Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) made the decision to bring H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, to the floor to be considered by the U.S. Senate this year.

H.R. 810, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2005, would expand current policy to allow for federal dollars to be used for stem cell research on donated embryos from fertility clinic patients.

This legislation also specifies strict ethical guidelines. The stem cells may only be derived from In Vetro Fertilization (IVF)-created embryos. The couple must provide written consent and would not receive any compensation.

The current Administration policy states that federal funds may only be used for research on embryonic stem cell cultures created prior to August 9, 2001.

H.R. 810 will be considered as a "package" of stem cell research bills, including S. 2754, Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act and S. 3504, the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act of 2006. Under the agreement, amendments will not be permitted and each bill will have a separate vote.

More than 120 million Americans suffer from chronic and life-threatening diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, HIV/ AIDS, ALS, osteoporosis and spinal cord injuries. Medical researchers have discovered that many diseases and injuries could potentially be treated or cured by new regenerative medicine therapies involving stem cells.

At this time, I would ask that we take a stand and notify our state Senators and make them understand that we need H.R. 810! That we will not accept any substitutes or alternative bills.

I suggest looking at the following Web sites for more helpful information:www.parkinsonsaction.org; and www.tamr-ed.org.

My disease is not standing still, waiting for a cure. It progresses every day. And there just isn't any time to waste.

Bonnie Younkin resides in Huron.

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