Bring It! For Stem Cell Research

By Kristina Meek
May 4, 2011

Stem cell therapy holds promise for many different areas of medicine. But, as Dr. Evan Y. Snyder, director of Sanford-Burnham’s program in stem cells and regenerative biology, told the rapt Bring It! audience on April 21, regeneration of damaged spinal cord tissue is one of the most exciting stem cell applications. For many of those in attendance, the hope for a spinal cord injury treatment holds a distinctly personal significance – they, or someone they love, have been impacted by such an injury.

Bring It! is a game show-themed fundraising experience now in its third year in San Diego. This year, Sanford-Burnham again partnered with HeadNorth, an organization that supports spinal cord injury patients. Life Technologies, leading supplier of stem cell research products to labs around the world, was the presenting sponsor.

But the Bring It! audience didn’t focus on tragedy. Their passion for stem cell research brought them there to play games and raise money. The fundraiser’s theme, “Rock on for Stem Cell Research,” gave participants the chance to live out their rock star fantasies, while helping stem cell treatments become a reality.

Held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the evening opened with a VIP red carpet reception, featuring paparazzi, gourmet margaritas and Madonna and Ozzy Osbourne impersonators. Event chairs Stath and Terry Karras kicked things off – Stath even gave his own performance of the Rolling Stones’ song “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Next the audience gave generously during a “fund-a-need” drive and live auction. Auction items included rock star memorabilia and a special preview dinner at celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s upcoming San Diego restaurant.

The games then began, unleashing fearless displays of hidden talent by the 29 teams. Participants competed in music trivia and then took to the stage to sing, dance, impersonate rock stars, and pretend to be roadies. The fierce competition culminated with two teams battling in a sing-off backed by a live band. The winning team was a group assembled by HeadNorth board member Paul Jacobson.

There is hope that spinal cord injuries could one day be treated by regenerating nerve cells to improve motor skills or even reverse paralysis. Bring It! will help San Diego scientists carry out research that might make such a procedure possible. Those who were unable to attend the event can still support the cause by visiting the Sanford-Burnham website.

For more about stem cell research, read these blog posts or watch Dr. Snyder in the video below.

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Kristina Meek

Kristina was an SBP Communications staff member.


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