Thursday, August 21, 2014

ALS, Ice and Israel

With all the discussion about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and the Ice Bucket Challenge, I wanted to share some encouraging news. In 2011, BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics of Israel and Hadassah Hospital in Israel treated a patient who had ALS with a new autologous stem cell technology called Nurown. The 75 year old patient, Rabbi Refael Shmulevitz, improved!

As of April 2014, a US Patent was granted and, pending FDA approval, Brainstorm plans to hold Phase II clinical trials at Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital and the Mayo Clinic. It's possible that this type of treatment could also help folks with Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis. So whether you are dumping ice water on your head or writing a check, progress is being made!

Monday, August 11, 2014


On Suicide” was written by Jennifer Michael Hecht and posted on January 11, 2010.
I refer to it simply as “Stay”.
It is one of the most poignant, powerful, passionate and compassionate messages I have ever read against suicide. She wrote it after the suicides of two friends.

Because Robin Williams committed suicide within the last 24 hours, I felt compelled to post excerpts from Ms. Hecht’s post here:

“So I want to say this, and forgive me the strangeness of it.  Don’t kill yourself.  Life has always been almost too hard to bear, for a lot of the people, a lot of the time.  It’s awful.  But it isn’t too hard to bear, it’s only almost too hard to bear.”

“...if you are even a tiny bit staying alive for the sake of the community, as a favor to the rest of us, I need to make it clear to you that we are grateful that you stay.  I am grateful that you stay alive.”

“The truth is I want you to live for your sake, not for ours.  But the injunction is true and real.  Anyway, some part of you doesn’t want to end it all, and I’m talking to her or him, to that part of you.  I’m throwing you a rope, you don’t have to explain it to the monster in you, just tell the monster it can do whatever it wants, but not that.  Later we’ll get rid of the monster, for now just hang on to the rope.”

I want very much to publish Ms. Hecht’s full article, but I do not own the rights. So I urge you to go to her original post and read it in its entirety. “On Suicide

Then print it out and hang onto it. You may never need to read it again yourself. But if you ever do or if you want to give a copy to a friend, you will be relieved you have it to hand.

Thank you Jennifer Michael Hecht. We are so grateful you have stayed and that you wrote this...

Robin Williams

He inspired me, taught me much and always made me laugh.