GGC REGENERATIVE MEDICINE PROJECT 2015-2018
GGCCM: Peg Reiterman, PGM
It all began four years ago, with that simple request, from the MWGM Helen Westmoreland, to serve on a brand new committee called Regenerative Medicine. The more I researched what this was all about, the more I knew that I wanted to be a part of something that is truly breaking news! Stem cell research is HERE and NOW! We’re on the threshold of so many exciting medical breakthroughs…… The partnership between Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Order of the Eastern Star has been phenomenal.
It all began, here in Ohio with a simple request for each chapter to donate 1 sunshine collection each year for the 3 year project. Many chapters went above and beyond that initial request. I am pleased to tell you that of the 192 chapters that we started with, 157 chapters donated to the project and only 35 never responded. In fact, as I visited one chapter and mentioned that statistic to them, they asked if they could donate $1.00 for each chapter that didn’t participate so that I could state that all chapters in Ohio were “on board”….and they did.
There also were twelve districts were 100% in their giving. I’d like to give a shout out to Districts 6-7-10-11-12-13-16-18-19-21-23 and 26. You are awesome!! Let’s add in the largest contribution that I’ve ever received, in one evening: Mt. Healthy Chapter in District 20 and their members for their over $3000.00 donation.
As I had the pleasure of being invited to speak all over the state, I always took a picture of the group and forwarded it to WFIRM the next day. My contact there, Genevra Kelly emphasizes their appreciation for the fantastic support. They are humbled by your generosity and praise you for your efforts. By the way, each picture that I’ve sent to them is posted in the lab for viewing. She said it means the world to them to see these great new OHIO partners and to say THANK YOU from the bottom of their hearts.
A very important part of these presentations these last 3 years has been Scott Riddle. He shared his journey through stem cell transplant and his recovery. He truly brought the whole story “home” and shared the promise of survival with this amazing medical miracle.
There’s one more very important story I need to tell. Many of you know that part of the money that has been raised from OHIO has come from the cruises that we’ve taken. To hear the lectures given from the WFIRM doctors, while we cruised was VERY informative and exciting. But something very special happened and was shared with me last weekend. David Merckle (son of Chuck and Dianne Merckle) has joined us on the past two cruises. On the last cruise to Hawaii, David formed a friendship with Dr. Gracia Almeda Porada and Dr. Christopher Porada, the two physicians from WFIRM. Chuck and Dianne said whenever they couldn’t find David, he was with the Porada’s!
When they returned home, a week later David announce that he was going to quit his job and go back to school, full time to work on his graduate studies IN STEM CELL RESEARCH!!! He is currently enrolled at OU!! I truly believe that the. Porada’s have reignited the science flame in David and now we can watch him soar!!
I set a personal goal of $100,000 for OHIO. Thanks to the generosity, support and belief in this amazing Regenerative Medicine partnership, I am proud to say that OHIO HAS RAISED $103,000+ and we’re still receiving donation!!
OHIO: You’ve made such a difference in the lives of our service men and women injured on the battlefield….through stem cell research, their damaged or wounded body parts are being repaired.
OHIO: You’ve made a difference in the life of Michelle, the 10 year old daughter of a Past Matron from Urbana Chapter by sharing the knowledge of this project; she is now on the waiting list at WFIRM for a bladder made by using her own stem cells.
THIS IS WHAT THIS PARTNERSHIP HAS DONE….and we’ve only just begun.