Jul 2010

We need to understand how human beings develop

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I’m not a scientist. I’m not even a scientific person. But I have always supported scientific research and I believe in the Stem Cell Charter.

At 41, I was diagnosed with a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Myotonic Dystrophy. Up until that point, I lived an active, rewarding and very fortunate existence. Within six months, I went from complaining about a periodic inability to release my grip to being diagnosed with a disease that has no cure and limited treatment. The muscles in my hand, right leg and tongue are deteriorating. Many other muscles may be affected in the future.

The most devastating part of hearing my diagnosis was not what it meant for me, but realizing that my two children each have a 50% chance of inheriting the disease and that it gets progressively worse with each generation.

Myotonic dystrophy is caused by a mutation of a gene that is essential for normal muscle and body function. It can only be diagnosed because of the research that allows us to map our genes.

I believe in the Stem Cell Charter because without research into how human beings develop, we will never be able to help people facing potentially devastating diseases such as Myotonic Dystrophy.

Ijeoma Ross is a freelance journalist living in Toronto. She says, “It is for my kids and their generation who will benefit from this groundbreaking research that I signed the Stem Cell Charter.”

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