Letter to the Editor: Stem cell research brings life to forefront

Superman has died. This was not the death of a pop-culture hero glorified on Marvel pages or Silver Screen; rather, this was the passing of a true hero, a man who inspired hope before insurmountable circumstance.

Christopher Reeve, the actor who once portrayed the Man of Steel, died Oct. 10 of heart failure. He was 52.

Since 1995, when Reeve was thrown from a horse, he had been confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down.

After the incident, Reeve took advantage of his notoriety, becoming an advocate for such controversial procedures as therapeutic cloning, spinal cord research and stem cell research. In many interviews, he expressed the hope of walking again by 50.

Reeve was never far from the forefront of medical debates relating to his condition. Oct 8, two days before his death, Sen. John Kerry, a friend of the Reeves referred to his hope in the second debate between the presidential candidates.

“Chris Reeve exercises every single day to keep those muscles alive for the day when he believes he can walk again, and I want him to walk again,” Kerry said in response to a question regarding the destruction of embryos in the harvesting of the stem cells.

The debate on stem cell research is one replete with ethical dilemmas. This is for certain. I agree with the Senator “It is respecting life to reach for that cure.”

The question of where and when life begins is an important one. It is, however, a question that will be answered soon.

We should all agree, though, that creating the hope for a life sustained or a life renewed from the remains of a life discarded is to show the highest respect for life.

For the memories of Christopher Reeve, Ronald Reagan, for the lives of Mohammed Ali and Michael J. Fox, plus the countless victims of debilitating conditions who remain anonymous, let this research continue; let this endeavor advance.

Kerry cited one such individual last week.

“Don’t take away my hope,” he said. “Because my hope is what keeps me going.”

Jonathan BeVille

2004 Missouri Southern Alumnus

Former Associate Editor of The Chart