28 January 2012

A crank for cure!

On 26 January, the Winnipeg Free Press carried my letter (third from the top) in both their online and print editions in response to their article 'Man in Motion still on a roll'. Also, don't forget the 13 January letter that I got printed in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal with all of your help.

I'm going to start getting the reputation as a crank if I don't stop. When I was a kid I used to read the paper and think that all the people who wrote 'letters to the editor' didn't have anything better to do with their time, and that yes, that they were cranks.

Well, when I think of all the money, $245 million, that the Rick Hansen Foundation has raised, and then think about their lack of spending on translational research for a cure, I don't mind being labelled a crank.

So, from now on, every time the media carries a news report about the Rick Hansen Relay rolling through towns and cities across Canada, I'm going to send a letter to the editor explaining the alternative view to Rick's work. That alternative view is that even though Rick is a good guy and has done a lot, twenty five years later he doesn't see that the place to be spending those millions is on research into the regeneration of the spinal cord. Well, until he gets it, I'm going to keep writing and asking you to write. 

So pick up your keyboard and start writing, it's a great way to keep cure in the public eye, and it works. 

I'm providing you with a list of major cities and dates for the rest of the relay along with a list of newspapers and email addresses to send your letters to. 

Regina, Saskatchewan: 4-9 February. Send an email to the Regina Leader Post at letters@leaderpost.com.
Calgary, Alberta: 26-27 February. Send an email to the Calgary Herald at letters@calgaryherald.com
Edmonton, Alberta: 12-14 March. Send an email to the Edmonton Journal at letters@edmontonjournal.com
Vancouver, British Columbia: 21-22 May. Send an email to the Province at provletters@theprovince.com

26 January 2012, Winnipeg Free Press (Print Edition)

All talk, no action

As your Jan. 22 article on the Rick Hansen Relay, Man in Motion still on a roll, mentions, the world has changed greatly. According to Hansen, "There is now hope in the laboratory that the newly injured will walk away or that there will even be a cure for spinal-cord injury."
But this hope for a cure, which is backed up by science and proven in animal studies, will not happen without funding.
A study of the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) and its research arm leaves one sorely unimpressed with their funding of translational research for central nervous system (CNS) regeneration, i.e., a cure for paralysis.
This concern is what led about 300 people from around the world to write to the RHF. Sadly, this question was never addressed in the foundation's answers.
The real story is not about how Hansen motivates people to believe, but rather why 25 years later Hansen does not believe that funding, not words or parades, is necessary for a cure.
I truly hate to make such a statement, but when Hansen's organization fails to openly answer such a question to his own constituents, one cannot help but doubt his own commitment to the cure that he raises funds for.
Osaka, Japan

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