Patient advocate Ted Harada is the recipient of this year’s Stem Cell Person of the Year Award.
Congrats also to the runner-up, HD patient advocate Judy Roberson. The three of us together are pictured at left.
Very sadly, as many of you know, Ted passed away just a few months ago from a brain tumor so I am giving him this award posthumously. Accepting the award on his behalf is his wife Michelle. Ted and I shared a 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 below.
Each year that I’ve done the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award, I’ve been faced with the wonderful, but difficult challenge of picking one winner out of a group of outstanding finalists and this year was no different.
With this award that includes a $2,000 prize, I’m looking for an outside-the-box risk taker who has made a positive impact in the world of stem cells. Ted fit the bill perfectly.
Ted was a clinical trial participant for a new stem cell therapy for ALS in a trial run by the biotech Neuralstem. As such, Ted put himself at risk (transplanted cells have risks, immunosuppression has risks, etc.). He did this for the benefit of the field and for other patients. However, Ted went well beyond that. He was also a tireless patient advocate and educator who inspired countless people.
Ted respected other’s opinions and was a true class act. For instance, although Ted and I didn’t see entirely eye-to-eye on some things like Right to Try, that wasn’t a wedge. He served as a bridge between different parts of the community. Here at UC Davis we run an annual symposium on stem cell ethics and one year Ted was an invited speaker. He made a big, positive impact at our meeting.
Overall, Ted left the world including the stem cell and regenerative medicine arena a far better place. You can read my tribute to Ted after his death here. I only wish I could have given him this award in person.