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Let the soul be assured that somewhere in the universe it should rejoin its friend, and it would be content and cheerful alone for a thousand years, Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays, Friendship (circa 1847). Emerson also wrote, “My friends have come to me unsought. The great God gave them to me.”

I recall Emerson’s essay because I am searching for a way to convey how I feel about my friends and friendship having been rewarded by this gift in the form of many friends who have helped me, helped my family and contributed to a better condition for untold numbers of people over the years. He has expressed to a great extent how I think and feel about my friends, new, long standing and those waiting to be met. What got me to thinking about the subject is a particular act of kindness by Duane, one of my longtime friends that benefited two other friends of mine that are now forever connected to Duane.

Duane was instrumental in obtaining contacts in the scientific community who are lining up to help Kathy, my friend and neighbor who is now battling Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), perhaps better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord (ALS Association,

Kathy’s husband, Jim Schmitt, is supporting her by connecting with leading scientists and providing a forum via his newspaper and weekly radio program. He seeks to enlist as much support as he can, not only to help Kathy, but to help others who have a degenerative brain disease.  I have attached an article from Jim’s paper, Ladera Times previewing his plans.

Since that article was written, I participated in Jim’s radio program where he hosted Dr. Babak Kateb of Cedar-Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, who is a leading authority on brain mapping. Dr. Kateb was in between meetings with one of President Obama’s top medical research advisors who had asked him what single thing the Obama Administration could do to further research on the brain. Dr. Kateb asked for establishment of brain tissue storage centers including standards for storing and handling of brain tissue as part of an essential national infrastructure to encourage donations of brain tissue and scientific research on the brain.

You can help this effort in several ways. First, learn more about ALS and related diseases by reading about it. Just visit web sites such as the ALS Association’s site at: and the local Alzheimer’s association site which for Orange County is at: From anywhere in the world you can listen to Jim Schmitt’s weekly radio program “Brain Matters” at Wednesday’s between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Also, there will be an archive in the form of podcasts available on the OCTalkRadio web site. Secondly, participate, call the program when the program is airing at 949-713-6443, or contact Jim Schmitt directly at Ladera Times C/O Brain Matters, 29851 Sienna Parkway, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694. Jim and Kathy are looking forward to meeting you and making new friends.



Written by gibbythegriller

September 18, 2013 at 11:41 pm