SAN FRANCISCO, March 7, 2006– Robert Klein, Chairman of the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee for the California Institute for the Regenerative Medicine, today issued this statement on the tragic news of the passing of Dana Reeve:
Dana possessed incredible emotional strength, poise, charm, and warmth. In addition to her personal vitality, Dana also played a heroic role in moving stem cell research policy forward despite extraordinary personal family hardships: she and Christopher played key roles in supporting Proposition 71 despite Christopher’s struggle with paralysis and its complications.
We owe Dana and her family a debt of incalculable gratitude for their contributions to our California effort and for their national activism. Just three weeks after Christopher’s death, Dana traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to campaign for stem cell research with John Kerry. She wore Christopher’s wedding band on her necklace and, by all accounts, gave one of the most touching, persuasive and powerful speeches of the entire presidential campaign.
These are times that demand heroic individuals to lead this country in scientific and medical research. Christopher and Dana Reeve gave this country their passionate commitment, their fortunes, and their very lives.
Their efforts were dedicated to empowering some of the best and brightest scientists and physician scientists of a generation. Tragically, those scientists are today poised at the edge of an FDA approval for the first human clinical trials for stem cell therapies for acute paralysis.
Great advances have been made, great challenges remain.
The important policy and research funding work of both Chris and Dana Reeve will be carried forward effectively by their foundation, The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.
Our sympathy goes out to Dana’s many friends and family. Our prayers extend to Christopher, Dana, and the dedicated leadership and staff of their foundation.