Cure CJD

Heather Larson's experiences in helping find the cure for CJD

My hope has returned. Thank, you President Obama for banning downer cows

March 14, 2009 was possibly one of the best days of my life. I’ll try to explain it now for those of you who don’t know what it is like to watch a loved one die of CJD. When my mom died of it in 2004, there was little hope. The more I learned about the disease, the more chances of beating it and the issues surrounding it seemed dismal. Downer cows were being allowed into the food supply, the disease wasn’t reportable in every state (still isn’t), I first started to learn about how our ways of highly industrialized beef production were dangerous, and so on. Our former president at the time wasn’t keen on increasing the safety of our food systems either. In fact, former President Bush scaled back BSE testing in America in 2006, right after a cow with BSE had been found in Alabama. You can’t find it if you aren’t looking, right? I didn’t think an American president would ever really get it–until yesterday.

So when I arrived at work  and checked to see if anything newsworthy had happened, there it was! A huge headline read, “Obama Bans ‘Downer’ Cows From Food Supply.” I never thought I would see this day, to be honest.

Read the article here:

(Sorry, can’t get the link to insert tonight).

Maybe if I describe my gut reaction to the news you will understand how important this is to people like me who have watched people die of CJD. Upon seeing that headline, I gasped. Then I sobbed. Tears came for the rest of the day and night, and it was 2:00 pn when I first saw that. To know that we are finally taking a step to protect human life over beef industry profits and basic carelessness on the part of the beef industry is huge. This is a major step.

When I came home I watched President Obama’s weekly address on my iPod Touch. It was then that I realized we live in truly amazing times. There I was watching our president literally in the palm of my hand telling me the news I had so wanted to hear since I first learned about the dangers of BSE in 2004. I realize we live in a very advanced, progressive, and forward thinking time in terms of technology, science, and now politics. If there ever were a time ripe for positive changes, this is it. Our president gets it. Writing letters to Bush was a waste of time but Obama is getting things done–on a Saturday no less.

I feel like I woke up in a whole new world today. Today’s world is a place where all things are possible. What I thought was impossible before wasn’t. It’s done. Done! I still feel tears well up when I think of how grateful I am for what President Obama did for us yesterday. I wrote him a thank you letter but also gave him seven more steps to take to ensure Americans are safe from BSE. Years of frustration and pain have been healed for me by this.

If you would like to read the letter I wrote to President Obama today, please do. I hope you will be moved to copy and paste parts of it or all of it into your own letter to him about food safety in America. There are many fights for safe food still to be fought, but this is my fight. I hope you’ll join me:

Thank you,

Heather Larson


March 16, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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