Ice Bucket Challenge: I donated, but not to ALSA

I was recently “called out” to take the ALS Association “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which is a campaign aimed at raising funds for and awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – a progressive neurodegenerative disease, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

I cannot support the ALSA because, according to the organization’s website, they exploit the use of human embryonic stem cells.

From the ALSA website:
Adult stem cell research is important and should be done alongside embryonic stem cell research as both will provide valuable insights. Only through exploration of all types of stem cell research will scientists find the most efficient and effective ways to treat diseases.”

ALSA funds Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS), the largest consortium of ALS clinical researchers in the world. At least one NEALS study used embryonic stem cells from a fetus that was electively aborted at two months gestation.

Pope John Paul II may have said it best, in his 2003 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:
“Any treatment which claims to save human lives, yet is based upon the destruction of human life in its embryonic state, is logically and morally contradictory, as is any production of human embryos for the direct or indirect purpose of experimentation or eventual destruction.”

Also, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 2275 states, in part:
“It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.”
“One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.”

However, in the spirit of the “challenge” to support medical research, I’ve donated to the The John Paul II Medical Research Institute, which recently kicked off 2014 with a One Million Dollar Capital Campaign Drive developing adult stem cell therapies. The Institute “focuses on regenerative medicine in which adult stem cells will be used to treat patients with chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.” Their website clearly states “We do NOT support embryonic stem cell research. We support research that is pro-life driven,” and “We devote more than half of our budget towards medical research, which is far greater than most established foundations.” According to the Institute, “We are receiving increasing financial support from donors asking whether their donations will go directly to support ALS research. We want to assure people that any donation specifically directed towards finding a cure for ALS will be used to support medical research for that cause.”

If you would like to donate to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute, you may click here. They accept Paypal, credit card, debit card or you can send a check payable to:

John Paul II Medical Research Institute
540 E. Jefferson St.
Suite 202
Iowa City, IA 52245

“The service of humanity leads us to insist, in season and out of season, that those using the latest advances of science, especially in the field of biotechnology, must never disregard fundamental ethical requirements by invoking a questionable solidary which eventually leads to discriminating between one life and another and ignoring the dignity which belongs to every human being.”
~Pope John Paul II


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