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The Hanson’s Tour for a Cure
We, the Hanson family, are dedicating the next six months to helping doctors and scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital attempt to cure at least one disease, end at least one epidemic, and open doors to what may be one of the greatest medical breakthroughs in our lifetimes.
To learn more about us and what led to our Tour for a Cure, please read Erin’s Story The very short version goes like this.
Last April, our seven-year-old daughter, Erin, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (sometimes called childhood-onset or juvenile diabetes). Like so many people suffering from autoimmune diseases, we learned quickly that the best we could hope for was to minimize the effects of the disease. A cure was beyond reasonable hope. Of course, we were very grateful for the progress made in treating diabetes, a disease that just eighty years ago swiftly killed all of its young victims.
Still, the disease has consequences. Erin is no different than hundreds of thousands of diabetics who die prematurely each year. Even now, despite our best efforts to minimize its effects (including multiple finger pokes and insulin injections each day), the disease is likely to create numerous health problems in Erin and, ultimately, to take approximately fifteen years of precious life from her – from us. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that in the very short time since Erin’s diagnosis, there have been major breakthroughs at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Diabetes Research (MGH). More specifically, MGH scientists discovered, somewhat to their own surprise, that an injection of spleen cells cured Type 1 diabetes in mice. MGH scientists have more recently conducted studies strongly indicating that what occurred in the mice tests will be replicated in people. Those findings have not only encouraged researchers at MGH, they have also given fresh hope to scientists working to find a cure to other autoimmune diseases (including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus).
Based on those exciting breakthroughs, the FDA has cleared the way for MGH to begin human tests. Before those trials can begin, however, the MGH team faces a different sort of hurdle: they need to raise eleven million dollars. Because this breakthrough clinical research involves understanding the effect of injecting spleen cells, and not the application of a potentially patentable and profitable pharmaceutical product, financing for the trials needs to come largely from the public. Although numerous foundations, such as the Iacocca Foundation, have made large contributions, there is still a significant need for funds.
We are devoting the next six months to helping MGH clear that hurdle. We believe that the sooner this important research is completed, the sooner it can be used to help those currently or soon-to-be in the grips of disease. We also believe that helping MGH raise money for this research will save lives – maybe even Erin’s. So we have set the ambitious goal of $100,000 as the amount that we’d like to help raise.
We may be naively optimistic, but we also believe that when people find out about this research and the need for funding, they will be eager to help. We hope you will. We are not expecting or actively seeking large contributions. Our hope is to encourage many pledges of a size that is comfortable for each donor – be it $5, $50, or $500. Please help us get the word out about the hope for a cure and please help us finance the important work taking place at MGH.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible, charitable donation in support of the MGH research for a cure, or if you would like further information, please click here.
Whether you make a donation or not, we hope you’ll stay in touch and follow our journey as it unfolds.
back to the Tour for a Cure page