Tag: Southern California
Jay Liesener, Team Surfgimp conquer more than just West Coast waves
With sunburnt cheeks and scabbed-over nose, Jay Liesener’s face tells it all. His recent trip to surf California’s southern coast was a success.
That’s a good sunburn, said Liesener with his head-wide smile as his wife, Melanie, helped him get out of their van.
Liesener is a quadriplegic and adaptive surfer who lives in Milton. When Gazette readers last saw him, it was days after a crowd-funding effort had raised more than $15,000 to send him and his team, Team Surfgimp, on a bucket-list-checking surfing trip to southern California.
The popular wheelchair sport helped to launch the Paralympics in 1960
Jerry Fesenmeyer was an 18-year-old Iowa farm boy when he and his fellow marines from the First Division engaged in a desperate firefight with Japanese soldiers on the island of Okinawa. The date was June 5, 1945. Fesenmeyer was advancing toward Shuri Castle when he spotted an enemy soldier perched in a tree. He jumped from behind a wall to surprise him, only to find himself looking down the barrel of a Nambu sniper rifle.
The bullet entered Fesenmeyer’s chest between the heart and the shoulder, clipped a lung, and exited through his spine. Blood shot from his body like a geyser. “Fessy’s hit! Fessy’s hit!” someone was yelling as he blacked out.
The community of patient advocates is full of the most passionate, goal-oriented people you’ll ever meet, and Roman Reed is near the top of the list.
Reed, paralyzed in 1994 from a tackle during a Chabot College football game, has been one of the most visible advocates for stem cell research funding through the San Francisco-based California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM. He also was a poster child for a state law passed a law in 2000 to fund spinal injury paralysis research through the state’s general fund.
But in the course of California’s budget meltdown, desperate state officials took away the spinal cord research funds.
In May 2011, UC Irvine opened the doors to the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, a 100,000 square foot facility that cost nearly $80 million to construct.
The center ushered in a new future for stem cell research. Being the first major stem cell research facility in Southern California, the scientists here at UC Irvine have already begun to prove the benefits of the research that they are doing here.