‘Framing the Future’ with Hadassah

Columnist Lois Caplan


Imagine a society without Diabetes, Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s, Macular Degeneration, Multiple Sclerosis and more debilitating and life threatening diseases. Impossible?  Not at all since stem cell research, which offers the key to finding cures, is now almost unencumbered by legal or political ramifications.  Thanks to Dr. William Danforth’s leadership role in our state, the Missouri Stem Cell Amendment protecting Missourians from any attempt to ban stem cell research and therapies permitted under federal law was passed.

On Sunday, Sept. 26 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dr. Danforth will be honored by St. Louis Chapter Hadassah for his unstinting effort to stem the tide of opponents to stem cell research.  Appropriately called “Framing the Future,” the event will take place at the Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 N. Warson Road and will begin with appetizers to be followed by the award presentation and talks by two prominent Israelis, Dr. Benjamin Reubinoff and Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef   Dinner will begin at 7:30 and an hour later there will be coffee and cordials. Honorary Chairs are Ambassador Sam and Marilyn Fox (he will make the presentation to Danforth) while Diane and Paul Gallant are co-chairs for the evening.

Reservations starting at $250 per person are available by sending your check to Hadassah, 745 Craig Road, Suite 102, St. Louis Mo., 63141.  Questions? Call 314-991-0434 or visit St. [email protected].

Hadassah is moving forward at a striking pace using embryonic stem cells to find cures. Reubinoff, lead stem cell researcher at Hadassah Medical Center, will showcase specific advances and clinical trials developed with astounding results and with the potential to advance new treatments and cures for the most debilitating diseases.  Also speaking will be Mor-Yosef, Director General since 2001 of Hadassah Medical Organization, whose hospitals treat over one million patients a year of all races, religions and ethnicities. He was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

William Henry Danforth, often affectionately referred to by his Washington University students as “Uncle Bill” or “Chan Dan,” was Chancellor of the university from 1971 to 1995. During that period he brought the university to national stature, completed several major capital campaigns, tripled the number of scholarships, increased the endowment and established 70 endowed faculty chairs. Prior to ascending to the summit of Wash U, he attended Princeton University and Harvard Medical School and later joined the medical faculty of Washington U as a cardiologist, then becoming Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs. Since his retirement as chancellor in 1995 he has been busy in the community. He founded the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in 1998 and is currently Chairman of its Board of Trustees. Dr. Danforth’s abiding interest is in promoting stem cell research for which we should all stand up and cheer him. 

Documentary on stem cell vote to screen at JCC

THE STEM CELL DIVIDE, an award winning documentary, examines Missourians’ efforts to pass or reject a proposed amendment to the state constitution aimed at protecting all federally approved forms of stem cell research.  A panel discussion will follow the film, focusing on scientific advances achieved since 2006 when Missouri voters approved the state constitutional amendment. The panelists are Dr. Steven Teitelbaum, Washington University; Donn Rubin; Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures; Joan Denison, Hadassah; and Barbara Langsam Shuman, the film’s Director/Producer.

On Tuesday evening, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center Staenberg Family Complex Arts and Education Building the public is invited to view “The Stem Cell Divide,” which is jointly sponsored by Hadassah, Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, St. Louis Jewish Film Festival and Triumph Documentaries.  The film introduces us to the people, passions and motivations that led to the passage of the constitutional amendment. According to director/producer Shuman, “After viewing the film and hearing the panel you will understand much more about embryonic stem cell research and its potential to affect every American family.”  For tickets at $7 per person call the St. Louis Jewish Film Festival hotline at 314-442-3179 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.

Supporting a safe haven for women

THE WOMEN’S SAFEHOUSE is a significant but little known institution in St. Louis. Its mission is to provide safe shelter and support services to battered women and their dependent children and to empower women to make informed choices about their futures. Every night The Women’s Safe House is a safe haven to as many as 50 women and their kids.  They, of course, pay nothing but this is an expensive project, which is partially supported by an annual golf tournament.  Since its inception 18 years ago, the tournament has raised nearly a half a million dollars to help women and children victimized by domestic violence.  This year’s tournament is at Normandie Golf Club on August 28. There will be trophies and prizes, lunch, a silent auction and dinner and all proceeds benefit The Women’s Safe House – all this for the entry fee of $125 per individual golfer.  For more information contact Jennifer Bush at 314-772-4535 or [email protected].