Patient advocate Ted Harada will be the recipient of this year’ s Stem Cell Person from the Year Award.
Congrats also to the runner-up, HD patient advocate Judy Roberson. The three of us collectively are pictured at left.
You can read regarding the 20 nominees here and find out the vote results that picked the 10 finalists here .
Very unfortunately, as many of you know, Ted passed away just a few months ago from a brain tumor so I am giving him this particular award posthumously. Accepting the award on his behalf can be his wife Michelle. Ted and I shared the deep commitment to our families. You can see a picture of Ted, Michelle, and their kids below. What a great family!
You can see a video of Ted talking about Right To Try out below.
Each year that I’ ve accomplished the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award, I’ ve been faced with the wonderful, but difficult problem of picking one winner out of a group of outstanding finalists and this year was no different.
With this particular award that includes a $2, 000 prize, I’ m searching for an outside-the-box risk taker who has made a positive influence in the world of stem cells. Ted fit the bill perfectly.
Ted was a clinical trial individual for a new stem cell therapy for ALS within a trial run by the biotech Neuralstem. As such, Ted place himself at risk (transplanted cells have risks, immunosuppression provides risks, etc . ). He did this for the advantage of the field and for other patients. However , Ted proceeded to go well beyond that. He was also a tireless individual advocate and educator who inspired countless people.
Ted respected other’ s opinions and was obviously a true class act. For instance, although Ted and I didn’ t see entirely eye-to-eye on some things like Directly to Try, that wasn’ t a wedge. He offered as a bridge between different parts of the community. Here at UC Davis we run an annual symposium on stem cell integrity and one year Ted was an invited speaker. He or she made a big, positive impact at our meeting.
Overall, Ted left the world including the stem cellular and regenerative medicine arena a far better place. You can read my tribute to Ted after his demise here . I only wish I really could have given him this award in person.