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Woman Goes from Stem Cell Patient to Stem Cell Educator

Press & Sun-Bulletin, August 20, 2007

Dunking her toes in her backyard swimming pool and spending more time with her grandkids was a future worth looking forward to for Carol Franz. She thought as retirement approached, she'd start to ease into life.

Training her brain to spew out statistics as fast as any computer, delivering addresses to 1,000 people at a time and talking one on one with the president of the United States was something she was not expecting.

President Bush discussed the stem cell veto and executive order in June, and Franz was called to the White House to join in. Franz was mentioned in the president's text.

"I appreciate the fact that we're joined by a lot of folks who share the deep desire to advance science, and at the same time, uphold our moral values. I appreciate the fact that Mike Leavitt is here, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. I want to thank the members of the United States Congress and Senate who have joined us. I thank you for taking your time to be here on this important announcement today."

"I'm joined on stage by two good docs, really smart, capable people: Dr. Bill Hurlbut, Professor of Stanford University Medical Center; Dr. Don Landry, Professor at Columbia University Department of Medicine -- actually, he's the Chairman of the Department. The reason they're here is these are brilliant biologists who are seeking new ways to develop stem cell lines without violating human life. And these are smart folks, and I cannot thank them enough for coming to the Oval Office to share with me their wisdom and their vision."

"I'm also up here with Carol Franz; she has whipped cancer twice by using adult stem cells. In other words, adult stem cells have saved her life."

"She's a determined woman who believes strongly that there are different alternatives available to use stem cells other than those which are created as the result of destruction of human life."

Franz says that she doesn't thin that same way as some people who wonder about their purposes in life.

She understands stem cell research and therapy and is on a mission to educate other American's about the science and treatment alternative.

She knows what she is talking about considering the fact that such therapies have twice snatched her back from cancer's jaws of death.

However, she is one of the very few, and this is a point of concern for her.

The stem cell field is riddled with various arguments, and she is familiar with all of them. But there is one point that has left her nearly furious, and that is that "adult" and "embryonic" are very different fields and people are confused about this point.

Any and all controversial issues are avoided by adult stem cell therapies according to Carol, who is a deeply committed Catholic.

Stem cell therapies are not only limited to cancer; they can be applied towards many more medical conditions. Carol cannot fathom how many doctors actually don't have a clue about this.

Joining the numbers of the confused are some of the politicians she has spoken with. This presents a major dilemma. With 73 adult stem cell therapies that have saved thousands of lives, it would be an injustice to have confused politicians casting votes for or against embryonic stem cell funding.

"It's sad when a 65-year-old grandmother in Owego has this information, and so few others do," she says.

Carol has before and after pictures on her website

. IN one photograph, he has a t-shirt on that reads, "Survivor Adult Stem Cell Transplant."

Many people think that the word "adult" refers to her age, and that cells from an embryo saved her life. Carol is disappointed with the high level of misinterpretation which is a product of misinformation and insufficient stem cell education.

"They just don't understand, they just don't know," says Franz.

She says she knows people right near her in Greater Binghamton, who are past adult stem cell transplant patients. They too are survivors.

However, while Carol feels the urge to tell everyone, the other individuals remain quieter and subtle.

But a few people are beginning to join Carolís cause, one of whom is Mary Lou of Endwell.

Mary Lou's life almost ended when she fought multiple myeloma five years ago. This was the same cancer Franz battled. Mary Lou was diagnosed as a stage four.

Thanks to the effect of her own stem cells being reintroduced into her bloodstream and several good local medical providers, she now feels decades younger than her actual 72 years she says.

"If you could see me now," she says. "It looks like I never had a sick day in my life."

Hoping to clarify the difference between adult and embryonic stem-cell therapies, both Carol and Mary Lou spoke to a Rotary Club last week, with the hopes that the newly informed members would in turn, educate others.

"After all the therapies are nothing short of medical miracles," Franz says.

Spurring some surgeons to turn liposuctions into an opportunity to cull stem cells stored in that unwanted tissue, they can even be found in fat. They are in fact, in nearly every area of the body.

"We carry our own repair kits around with us," Franz says.

Carol says that she'll continue pounding out the adult stem-cell message until she's confident it has been well understood. After all, she has that chance now since her own "repair kit" has already been used twice to rescue her body from cancer.


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