AWAKENINGS

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Hope for Amanda

Dear President Obama:

Note:  This letter has been sent to President Obama as part of a letter writing campaign along with personalized letters from various patients of Dr. Shroff from around the world.

President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC  20502

July 21, 2010

Dear President Obama:

My name is Amanda Boxtel.  It is an honor to share my story with you as a US citizen living with a spinal cord injury on the forefront of medicine and who has experienced firsthand the vast possibilities of embryonic stem cell technology.  I represent a group of patients from around the world including the United States who were once deemed incurable or terminally ill and have received human embryonic stem cell (hESC) treatment at Nu Tech Mediworld in New Delhi, India.  All patients have shown improvements in their respective conditions since receiving hESC treatment.  A medical breakthrough in the hESC field is not a vision of the future—it has already been realized in New Delhi through the revolutionary technology of Dr. Geeta Shroff which has proven to be safe and effective.  My request to you President Obama is to learn about Dr. Shroff’s technology first hand with the hope of bringing it to the United States so that it may then reach the people of the world.

President Obama, I applaud your efforts to expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.  I have been following the leadership of Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE), chief architects of legislation to increase federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.  I thank them for introducing the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act to ensure a lasting ethical framework to oversee stem cell research at the National Institutes of Health.  I concur with their statements that Congress still needs to enact legislation so that scientists and individuals like me who stand to benefit from this research will have something tangible we can rely upon for the future.  I admire their resolute commitment to codify the process set out in your Executive Order to ensure that stem cell lines remain eligible for federal funding for the future and the over-arching ethical framework is signed into law.  Their efforts to gain bipartisan and bicameral consensus with the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act will propel The United States of America forward in the global pursuit to realize the full potential of human embryonic stem cells. 

As a citizen with a spinal cord injury I have paid close attention to how human stem cell research has progressed in the past few years, and in particular, human embryonic stem cells.  I am by no means a desperate paraplegic in search of a cure, yet my curiosity lead me on a life-changing journey across continents to Delhi, India where I chose to undergo treatment in the only hospital in the world that administers human embryonic stem cells to human patients—Nu Tech Mediworld.  After six treatments abroad my experience has not only awakened my body after 18 years of paralysis with renewed muscle power and sensation, but has amplified my perceptions of the global stem cell environment, exposed me to endless ethical debates pertaining to embryonic research, and has made me aware of the exorbitant amounts of money poured into research.  I am living the dream that researchers and scientists in the United States and around the globe are working towards.

Dr. Geeta Shroff

Founder and Director of Nu Tech Mediworld, Dr. Shroff specialized as an IVF Practitioner and Embryologist.  She was working in this field when she made the scientific discoveries which ultimately led to her pioneering an ethical, safe and effective hESC treatment. 

It is worth noting that Dr. Shroff’s embryonic stem cells were harvested from just ONE embryo with full consent from the egg donor and sperm donor.  This one embryo continues to live through bringing life to 780+ patients from 35 countries in over 8 years of clinical application with zero negative side effects. Once the hESCs are isolated, they can be cultured indefinitely.  Dr. Shroff’s technology avoids controversial and ethical issues as there is no repeated need for embryos. Theoretically, one cell line can treat the entire human population.  Working within Indian ethical and governmental guidelines Dr. Shroff has been able to make astounding discoveries, although in terms of international standard scientific protocols she has seemingly gone against the grain.  I respect and admire Dr. Shroff’s tenacity.  She has never actively recruited patients through marketing.  Her success is based solely on patient word of mouth.

My Personal Story

On February 27, 1992 at the age of twenty-four I sustained a complete spinal cord injury at T11/12 (that is, no feeling or sensation below thoracic vertebrae levels 11 & 12). 

On June 25, 2007 I was the first US Citizen to undergo Human Embryonic Stem Cell therapy with Dr. Shroff in New Delhi, India.  During my periodic visits, I have not only witnessed astounding improvements in my own body, but with many patients deemed incurable or terminally ill who have life restored within their bodies and a newfound reason to not give up but LIVE!  Quality of life is the essence of what each patient attains through receiving Dr. Geeta Shroff’s hESC treatment.

Since receiving hESC treatment, I am able to crawl forwards and backwards; I can walk on my knees on my own; and I can now lift from a squatting position.  I am able to rise up out of my wheelchair and walk ambulating one leg at a time with the use of leg braces and a walker.  I work daily strengthening, patterning movements, meditating, and believing.  Hope has been restored and is now a part of my vocabulary!

Words cannot begin to describe my feeling of regaining sensation and renewed muscle strength after 15 ½ years of paralysis.  The word miracle comes to mind, yet I know it is science.  I am healing and I am capable of achieving more.  I visualize every pure embryonic cell gestating from a perfect state—that God spark—manifesting perfection throughout my physical body.  I do not know the divine potential of these Human Embryonic Stem Cells.  It is life giving life.

I firmly believe that human embryonic stem cell therapy is a mission of hope and will change the world of medicine.  It is encouraging to see that current total number of stem lines approved for federal funding is 75.  Mr. President, I applaud your commitment to expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in the United States. 

President Obama, on behalf of the patients I extend an invitation to you to visit Nu Tech Mediworld to meet Dr. Geeta Shroff and the American and international patients during your brief stay in New Delhi later this year.  I see this as a tremendous opportunity to enhance the Indo-USA partnership as a strategic move in terms of scientific advancement and human embryonic stem cell technology.  On June 15, 2010 three representatives from the US Embassy in New Delhi visited Nu Tech Mediworld for the first time.  The representatives included Ms Heather Broman (Science and Technology Officer) and Mr Scott Koenig (Citizen Services Officer), together with Ms Erin Keith, FDA Assistant Country Director for India.  They seemed to be intrigued by Dr. Shroff’s technology and were compassionate toward hearing the personal stories of each US patient currently being treated at the hospital. 

I hope that every person in the United States and the world has access to such a life-infusing revolutionary technology as I have had the good fortune to benefit from personally.  Dr. Shroff’s vision is: “To see hESC therapy available globally as the first line of treatment for many of mankind’s worst afflictions.”  She is committed to partnering and collaborating with companies and institutions in the USA, and to work together with regulatory authorities like the FDA to be able to realize her dream. 

It is my dream to speak in front of Congress to share my story and inspire the leaders of our country as to how human embryonic stem cell therapy can change a life.  If you are curious to learn more and if I can help shed some light on the successes of human embryonic stem cells firsthand, it would be an honor to meet with you in person or over the telephone.  Knowing full well that the journey I chose as a “stem cell tourist” is controversial I firmly believe that our governmental leaders can learn from my personal story.  I will continue to speak from my own experience as I witness my body awakening and coming to life after 15 ½ years of lifelessness and nothingness.  What I know for sure is that patient testimonials count!   The world can learn from those of us who are bold enough to take risks while keeping the faith and standing tall when the world is ostensibly against the odds.  I will aspire toward spreading a message of hope in the face of challenge.  It is our collective responsibility to be the manifestation of hope.  We must do what we can to demonstrate positive change in our world.  Here lies an opportunity to make dreams visible.  No dream is too big. 

Thank you President Obama for playing your part and doing all that you can for individuals like me who stand to benefit from your commendable efforts.

 

Yours sincerely,

Amanda Boxtel

Blog:  www.amandaboxtel.wordpress.com

Email:  aboxtel@comcast.net

Mobile:  (970) 379-9260

 
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