I began my career as a nurse and have always been interested in medicine and scientific research. Today, I am a working mom with a loving husband and two beautiful boys. We are all happy and healthy and free of any disease. So why have stem cells become important to me?
Even though I am healthy, I have been touched in a few ways that have made me realise how important stem cell science is to our society.
In the past few years, I lost a work colleague to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a devastating neuromuscular disease for which there is no cure or treatment. This year, I lost another friend to this terrible disease and it had a profound impact on me.
Both of these people fought courageous battles, but even at the start of their battle there was no hope. Imagine becoming afflicted with a disease for which there is no cure, no treatment and nothing to wait for except an inevitable death? Even worse, imagine being the person left to care for the dying relative, husband, friend or wife and knowing that there is nothing you can do to prevent their death.
I also lost an uncle to Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and saw him deteriorate as the disease took its toll. At this moment, I have a cousin who is dying of brain cancer and there is no hope for her – none at all.
These diseases have affected my friends and family. They were all young and productive members of our society. They also all had young families when they died and, as a parent, I cannot imagine anything worse than leaving my children behind.
Stem cells present an opportunity to treat and potentially cure many of the diseases I have mentioned above. Stem cell science has a powerful potential to stop more suffering for ordinary people – just like you or I. I am not involved with research or working directly with this science – but I strongly believe in it.
First and foremost, I am a mom. I always feel that there is not enough time in my day and that I should be doing more. By spreading the word through twitter, facebook and by just talking to people I’m making everyone around me aware of how important this science and I feel I am making a difference. Each time we talk to someone else about the Charter and get them to spread the word we are one step closer to eradicating some deadly diseases and to furthering good science that matters.
I want anyone reading this to know that anyone can be affected by disease down the road – when something happens to you or someone you love, stem cells may be the answer.
Dawn Wilson immigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1991 and has lived in Ottawa ever since. She has worked for the Ottawa Convention Centre for over 10 years and works closely with the Canadian Association Market to bring national and international conferences and conventions to Ottawa. Married to a fellow Brit, Jeremy, she has two small boys aged five and two.