The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Nancy Reagan was a passionate advocate for stem cell research. Find out why.
After a long and fulfilling life as First Lady, Nancy Reagan succumbed to congestive heart failure on March 6th, 2016. As the nation continues to mourn her passing, we recognize the influence of her passion and commitment to social change and advocacy. Although she is most remembered for her drug awareness campaign, “Just Say No”, what is often overlooked is her passion and support for stem cell research following her husband’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
In honor of Nancy Reagan, we’re here to discuss her life, her impact and her influence on the development of stem cell research.
A Stem Cell Pioneer
Throughout her life, Nancy was renowned for the love and dedication she gave to her husband. Upon his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 1994, she split her time between his immediate care, and promoting and fundraising for stem cell research until his death in 2004.
Despite the controversy of stem cell research at the time- particularly as the First Lady of a conservative former President – she was a passionate advocate for the lifting of restrictions on stem cell research in the hopes that it could be used to find a cure for various diseases including Alzheimer’s.
In perhaps her most moving push for stem cell research, while speaking at a diabetes foundation event she pleaded:
“Science has presented us with a hope called stem-cell research, which may provide our scientists with many answers that have for so long been beyond our grasp, I don’t see how we can turn our backs on this. There are so many diseases that can be cured or at least helped. We’ve lost so much time already. I can’t bear to lose any more.”
Beginning in 2004, she reached out to President George W. Bush and called on him to support federally funded stem cell research, which he acknowledged in several small but impactful ways. At a time when public funding for stem cell research was controversial and divisive, Nancy Reagan pleaded for lawmakers and politicians to take the politics out of the conversation and look only at the issues.
In doing so, she led the creation of a small but silent group of conservatives that began to believe in the power of stem cell research.
In many ways, the impact of Nancy Reagan on scientific discovery and advancement has been substantial. Not only has her work laid the foundation of acceptance for stem cell research, but has allowed for the creation and mainstream application of stem cell therapy for illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis (PF).
As the scientific community continues to put their best minds to the task of solving the problems of the human body, the Lung Institute will continue to bring these advancements to the public with the hope of bettering quality of life for those who need it most.
If you’re looking to take control of your health, don’t wait. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD or another lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of stem cell treatment options.
Looking for more information on Nancy Reagan and her push for Stem Cell Research? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts and comments on Nancy Reagan and Stem Cells: Just Say Yes below.