Ashley Alman: A Boy Who Asked Obama About Stem Cell Research In 2007 Writes To Say It Saved His Life
A young cancer survivor sent President Barack Obama a moving letter thanking him for keeping a promise made during a 2007 campaign stop — a promise the boy says saved his life. Gavin Nore, a teen from Fort Dodge, Iowa, told Obama in a letter shared by the White House Tuesday that he’d had the opportunity to meet the president during his first presidential campaign.
At the time, Nore asked Obama whether he’d continue stem cell research during his presidency, to which the president responded he would. In February 2013, Nore was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. He was 14 years old. Nore said he was “cancer free” by that summer, but was later re-diagnosed. “I had to have a stem cell transplant. I beat the battle once again,” Nore wrote to the president. “I would like to thank you very much for continuing the research. If the research haden’t [sic] continued, I wouldn’t be here today.”
These days Jeanette and I are doing childcare a full two days a week for our three grandchildren, four year old Matilda, and the five month old twins, Lucia and Paul. As I watch them grow and go through developmental stages I am reminded of how important it is for human beings to learn ways to calm their mind and emotions in order to react constructively with others in this world. That process starts early. And there are too many examples of human beings not learning that important skill with sad and tragic consequences both as individuals and nations.
The great spiritual leaders of our time and before, like Bishop Tutu, the Dalai Lama, and Pope Francis speak of the essential value of learning to resolve conflict with our enemies in a peaceful way so that we can live in the fruits of peace and true security. The prophet Micah says that there is no security unless all are secure. It begins with feeling secure and safe within ourselves with calm and stable thoughts and emotions.
We are at a critical juncture in our nation where a debate rages between choosing the present opportunity of resolving conflict with Iran, birthplace of a 6,000 year old ancient and advanced civilization, a nation declared by many to be an enemy. We have the opportunity- now sanctioned and authorized by a vote of the United Nations Security Council as international law- to choose diplomacy with international enforcement or unilateral war with Iran, another Middle East War with boundless catastrophic consequences.
This should be an easy choice. However, we have a faction in our country that has made a policy choice of regime change through war,and will accept no peaceful agreement that allows that govt. to stay in power. Led by a foreign govt,, funded by sympathetic billionaires Congress may likely vote disapproval of diplomacy and international law (although it is unlikely there are the votes to overcome a veto). What is needed is rational and constructive thinking and intention. Contrary to media reports, Congress does not have the authority to block this international law from implementation(see article below), but it can make impediments for implementation that will only harm the United States and US businesses.
Now is an important time especially here in Oregon as one of our senators, Ron Wyden, under the influence of a foreign govt. and its agent here in the US, is reported to be leaning toward a war decision. It is important that he hear from Oregonians as I write. Once before Senator Wyden made a rational decision to not support the war in Iraq. I am hoping he will do likewise in this case.
Those of you who know me, know that I have a life commitment to a strong meditation practice, because for me it has been the way of inner peace, harmony of mind and emotion, and healing of the soul. It is this spiritual commitment that leads me to talk to my Facebook friends, in a not customary fashion, about a vital policy decision facing our country. To make a decision to turn our backs on an internationally supported decision for diplomacy with enforcement to make a decision of a path towards war, a plan overwhelmingly supported by the scientific and weapons control community, which will actually harm our our stated policy objective of preventing nuclear proliferation, would be tragic and lead to tragic consequences for generations to come, a decision that affect even these little grandchildren of ours. Deliberate unilateral decision to deny the opportunity of peaceful resolution and choose a war of regime change is evil and destructive. It is a choice our Congress will vote on in Sept. just a few weeks. I am posting this for your own reflection and discernment, and not to invite a debate on this site.
Helping Liberia – Thank you President Obama – from the bottom of my heart
On August 3, at the urging of BobFr, I sent a letter to President Obama. Essentially, it was a modified comment I had posted here.
It was just at the start of the African Summit that President Obama was going to be convening with leaders from across the continent. At the time, news of the Ebola virus ravaging several countries in West Africa, including Liberia, my native country, was being hotly discussed. We also learned that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, would not be attending the conference because of the seriousness of the deadly virus. I lamented here that this would have been an opportune time for her to discuss not only the Ebola virus, but the deplorable health care infrastructure in the country.
I touched on some of those same concerns here in my August 3 comments (here)
That’s why after Bob encouraged me to write President Obama, I did. On September 22, I received a letter from him, dated September, 15, 2014.
I don’t quite remember everything I said to the president in my letter, because I typed it in the White House e-mail format and regrettably did not save a copy. But I believe I shared with him the lack of basic health care in Liberia and my own family struggle with my husband’s illness and desire to return someday, but could not do so. Without adequate routine medical care, my husband would not survive in Liberia, given that there is no treatment center there to treat him.
So, two days ago, shortly after I had gotten home briefly to drop off the car so that my husband could run and see his nurse, as I walked into the door, he said, “There is an envelope for you from the White House.” You can only imagine my surprise.
I immediately dropped my purse and grabbed the oversized manila envelope. I quickly opened it and began reading its contents. I was so excited, I could barely contain myself. I ran to my computer and tweeted that I got the letter and then posted it here.
My friends, words cannot express my deepest gratitude to President Obama for the swift action he has taken to save the lives of thousands of Liberians. It is a massive undertaking that many in Liberia will be grateful for, too. (Liberian Observer: President Obama’s Robust Response: A Security Council Resolution Could Greatly Help the Process)
You see, even before I wrote to President Obama, the U.S. had already taken steps to help Liberia and other countries in the region. And since my letter weeks ago, the President and his administration, alongside their International partners, have done much more to help battle the deadly virus. As part of the efforts to respond the Ebola epidemic, last week, the president sent 3,000 soldiers to Liberia to begin the work of containing the fast moving virus. (WH FACT SHEET: U.S. Response to the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa)
I am hopeful that the residual effects from the aid by the U.S. government and its partners around the world, will offer an opportunity for Liberia to emerge with a health care infrastructure, that will not only allow me and my family to go home, but will benefit thousands of Liberians who suffer needlessly and sometimes die from illnesses that could be easily treated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “the 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first Ebola outbreak in West Africa.” And to date, it has touched the lives of 5,864 people. In Liberia alone, some 1,500 people have died. (CDC: 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa)
So far, both my husband’s family and mine still living in Liberia, have not been harmed by the devasting virus. Many others are not so lucky.
Not only do we count our blessings for this, but also for President Obama’s action to take a stand and join other nations to prevent the loss of countless lives.
For this, as a Liberian native, I am eternally grateful to President Obama and I thank him from the bottom of my heart. Many Liberians will never forget what you have done here today.
Thank you fellow TODers for all your support and encouragement. I am deeply honored to be a part of this wonderful place.