Patty Wood Wins Research! America Advocacy Award

Patty Wood Wins Research! America Advocacy Award

By: Patti Strand  Date: 01/12/2000 Category: | Research Reports |

Patty Wood, a victim of kidney disease, who never let it dampen her spirits, wins a Research! America Advocacy Award for her tireless efforts on behalf of patients who depend on animal-based research.

Wood, co-chairman of the Patients Committee for Animal Research at the Washington Association for Biomedical Research and a board member of the National Animal Interest Alliance, was honored on March 28 at a dinner at the National Academy of Sciences. WABR shared in the acclaim for its efforts to help the public understand the value of biomedical research and its connection to cures for chronically ill and injured victims.

"This year's winners represent the best and brightest advocacy stars we have working to make medical and health research a higher national priority," said Mary Woolley, Research! America president. "Without these individuals and organizations, the tremendous gains that medical research has recently seen could not have been possible. We salute all of you for your fine work." Wood has had two life-saving kidney transplant operations. Her medical troubles began when she was in high school with a strep infection that started in her throat and then invaded her kidneys. Without a transplant or dialysis, she would have died. Fortunately, her brother's kidney was a perfect match.

Several years later, the artery that supplied blood to her kidney started to close. Doctors performed angioplasty, a technique that reopens blood vessels, to save the kidney for a few more years. However, scar tissue and kidney damage took their toll and the kidney ultimately failed. Patty needed dialysis to keep her alive until another kidney match could be found. Like many dialysis patients, she developed anemia that weakened her condition so much she could not undergo another transplant.

Seattle scientist Dr. Joseph Eschbach came to the rescue with a blood-producing hormone tested on anemic sheep, and Patty's strength returned. She had the kidney transplant but her body began to reject the graft. Again, animal research saved her life through the use of Chinese white hamsters to create a drug known as OKT3 that killed the white blood cells attacking her kidney.

Patty Wood has been a dedicated advocate for patients and for biomedical research for more than 25 years. Along with her volunteer activities at WABR and LifeCenter Northwest, an organization that educates the public about organ donation, she has been a speaker for the Northwest Kidney Centers, helped develop the US Postal Service organ donor stamp, and worked on the Washington State License Organ Donor Program. She also is a frequent speaker at schools and advocates for patients in the Washington State Legislature.



Established in 1988, WABR has reached more than one million students and adults at schools and community groups with education programs and media campaigns to increase public awareness of the benefits of biomedical research. WABR's sponsorship of programs such as the Amazing Animal Research poster and essay contest enhances communication between scientists, students, and the public about research.


Other winners

Additional winners of advocacy awards for 1999 are Senator Arlen Specter; Congressman John Edward Porter; Roscoe R. (Ike) Robinson MD, professor of medicine and former vice chancellor for health affairs at Vanderbilt Medical Center; Walter Anderson, editor of Parade Magazine; David and Lynn Frohnmayer, founders of Fanconi Anemia Research Fund Inc.; James Redford, founder of the James Redford Institute for Transplantation; and the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Funding.

Past winners include Katie Couric, co-host of NBC's Today show; Benjamin Reeve, citizen advocate and brother of film star Christopher Reeve; Michael DeBakey, world-renowned heart surgeon; and Tenley Albright, a physician, advocate, and Olympic gold medal winner.

Research! America is a national, non-partisan voice for raising the profile of medical and health research. Its members include more than 375 academic institutions, independent research laboratories, teaching hospitals, private industries, professional societies, and voluntary health agencies and philanthropies.


Patty Wood accepts award

Patty Wood, kidney transplant patient and volunteer advocate for patient welfare, received her award from Research! America with the following remarks:

Thank you Congresswoman Dunn, Dr. Joe Eschbach, WABR Executive Director Susan Adler, Research! America Board Members and Honored Guests, I didn't plan to become a career kidney patient. It just happened. And, yet, the research had come together perfectly, just in time to save my life. When all seemed lost, I met Dr. Joe Eschbach. He patiently and gently put all the pieces back together again and again. He gave me the knowledge to replace fear, and medical miracles to replace death.

There has never been a question as to how I would use this precious time. I wanted to give back with meaning, as much as possible. I knew my situation was unique, in that, being a kidney patient and transplant recipient, I have a story and a voice that cannot be heard as self serving.

In 1989, I became a volunteer speaker for the Washington Association for Biomedical Research. WABR's NIH funded speakers' bureau has been the perfect gateway for hundreds of patients like me. I can connect my story, from the basic animal research all the way through transplantation, including medications, medical procedures and surgical techniques. I've spoken to every venue possible, from civic groups and churches, to schools and colleges, but my favorite is when I see that connection, or spark of curiosity in a student's eyes and they begin to ask questions. This is my reason for being here. I know God's hand is here, but I also know first-hand many of the researchers whose life's work, compassion and dedication have created these miracles.

As I look at you, I realize what a big family we are. The connections we have together are awesome. I will forever be humbled by the way so many of you have given your time and energy.

It's people like you, who give people like me hope - hope that one day there will be no more kidney, liver, heart, or lung disease. No more cancers, AIDS, anemia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, strokes, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy or Parkinson's. When the paralyzed patient will walk again. Research matters, research saves lives.

Thank you.


About The Author

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Patti Strand - NAIA President

Patti is a recognized expert and consultant on contemporary animal issues, most notably responsible dog ownership and the animal rights movement. She often appears on radio and television and her articles on canine issues, animal welfare, public policy and animal rights have appeared in major US news publications and in trade, professional and scientific journals. Patti and her…

All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |
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