Kevin McCormack, Sr. Director of Public Communications and Patient Advocate Outreach, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) the speaker today.  CIRM is a State agency that was created by the passage of Proposition 91 in 2004. It provided $3 billion to be invested in stem cell research throughout the state. In 2020, it was reauthorized with another $5 billion.
Kevin noted that we all begin as a group of stem cells that have two amazing characteristics.
  • First, they can reproduce forever that makes them very useful to researchers.
  • Second, they can develop into any cell type in the body that makes them a sort of “Swiss Army knife” for repairing damaged organs and tissues.
CIRM has sponsored a great deal of basic research and now has initiated 77 clinical trials that to date include diabetes, cancer, eye, bone, heart, and more. Kevin provided several examples of the amazing successes that the program has had. For example, severe combined immune deficiency (i.e., the boy in the bubble) results in children born without an immune system at all.
Click here to watch Kevin's very informative presentation.  Click on Read more below for more information about the presentation and meeting announcements.
Several of these children have been “cured” by stem cell therapies that built an immune system for them. Sickle cell disease primarily affects African Americans and is extremely debilitating. Sickle cell disease primarily affects African Americans and is extremely debilitating. One man has been cured by stem cell therapy. A woman who suffered a stroke in her 30s has regained many of her lost abilities. Finally, a woman with macular degeneration who had rapidly lost her sight received a small wafer embedded with stem cells in the back of her eye. She can now see well enough to walk alone and watch television.
One of CIRM’s next goals is to bring these incredible options to a wider population. So far, most of these miracles have required patients to visit the major research centers in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego or Sacramento. They plan to open centers throughout the state to make these treatments more accessible, especially as the FDA begins to approve them and they become covered by insurance.
Watch Kevin's excellent and informative presentation here.
Watch the Announcements from the meeting here.
New Member Welcome
Membership Chair Ceta Dochterman welcomed Nimone Hardisty as a new corporate member.  Her husband, Yonathan, recently spoke to the Club regarding the work that their company,, is doing.   The mission of is to educate local communities about permaculture practices, plant local lands with forests of the future, and employ visionaries in green jobs for all ages.  Todd Anglin sponsored Nimone and Yon.  Please take the time to introduce yourself to Nimone and Yon.  You can see Nimone's short presentation in the video of the Announcements above.
Rotarian of the Month
President Dwight Perry named Carol Wikle as Rotarian of the Month for stepping up and serving as the Club Treasurer.
Golf Tournament
EBMUD Director and frequent guest Frank Mellon provided an EBMUD handout regarding the drought and encouraged everyone to conserve water.  He also announced that the American Legion and VFW are sponsoring a golf tournament fundraiser at Redwood Canyon Golf Course. They are looking for both sponsors and participants. Please contact Frank Mellon for details.
Senior Center
Carol Bigelow reported on her upcoming Valentine’s Day (Hershey Kisses) and Easter (Chocate bunny rabbits) projects to provide extra treats to seniors getting their meals from HARD at the Senior Center - another great example of Service Above Self to the Castro Valley community.
Rotary Foundation
President Dwight announced that the Club had met its goal for contributions to the Rotary Foundation.
Wheelchair Foundation
President Dwight also announced that the Club had met its goal with the Wheelchair project, but that there is still time to donate to the project.  He recognized Carol Bigelow for her extraordinarily generous donation of $10,000.  The trip to Mexico to distribute the wheelchairs is scheduled for July 2022.  See Dwight for details. 
Speaker for March 8
Club member Linton Johnson will explain crypto-currency.  Be sure to check Upcoming Events and Upcoming Speakers on ClubRunner for the latest information.