Posted on August 7th, 2013
by Richard Garr
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
I had a visit recently from a remarkable young science teacher at West Shore Junior/Senior High School in Melbourne, Florida whose name is Amy McCormick. Ms. McCormick’s science project/class had presented information about an experiment that they created that is actually going up to the International Space Station (how cool is that?) to be run. The study is entitled “A study of how microgravity affects the enzymes in ALS.” The project was picked over 1,000 other applications and schools, many larger and/or better funded than this small public school.
The project started as a result of the students in the school seeking a way to support a teacher, Jason Whitworth, who was diagnosed with ALS. The students wanted to learn about the disease, and then draw attention to it to raise awareness for research. As the project progressed, the students became involved outside of school in the local pALS support group and now regularly provide care packages, assist caregivers and have been instrumental in helping to provide equipment like wheelchairs to patients from a new partnership with a local nursing home.
In short, they are learning in the true sense of the word and they are providing help and uplifting spirits in a community that can always use all the help it can get. The students involved range from junior high through high school, and I imagine that even when the experiment is over, the connection with the Brevard ALS Support group will continue.
ALS is of course, a devastating disease. On average the patients die within two to four years of diagnosis; and the requirements of the caregiver community around each patient are intense and unrelenting. Families and friends do this with love and no regret. But to see a group of kids get more and more involved, instead of shying away, is a gift. It is also a tribute to their teacher and their families, and of course the kids themselves.
I urge you to Google the ISS: Project Whitworth and go to their website or Facebook Event Page to learn more and help. They sell bracelets and t-shirts with their (very cool) NASA inspired patch; and we are working with them to try to build a fundraiser around the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (currently scheduled for December 9th 2013) that will take their experiment to the ISS. Hopefully I will have much more to share on this later. This is a little candle that is indeed throwing a powerful beam into a terrible darkness; we should all make an effort to help them help others.
Blog originally published on neuralstem.com
Forward Looking Statements
This blog may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements in this blog regarding potential applications of Neuralstem's technologies constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, uncertainty of clinical trial results or regulatory approvals or clearances, need for future capital, dependence upon collaborators and maintenance of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in Neuralstem's periodic reports, including the annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012 and the Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2013.