Today (9/11), I am entering my 8th decade! I’m remembering snippets from the lyrics from the old Simon and Garfunkel song “Old Friends”:

“Old Friends. Old Friends. Sat on the park bench like bookends… Preserve your memories. They’re all that’s left you…How terribly strange to be 70.”

Well, that’s ridiculous.

Yes, it’s a little strange to turn 70, but mainly I feel nothing but gratitude. Twenty-two years ago I had cancer. Advances in medicine cured me and I am lucky to still be in the arena.

I happen to be a lawyer, but my full time cause and passion is fighting for freedom of scientific research. My hope is to accelerate regenerative medicine to improve health and deliver cures.

I am, and will remain, a stem cell advocate.

So, taking advantage of my special day, I have decided to share with you, my fellow advocates (after all, we all are advocates for something), a few inspirational and wise observations made by persons who challenged convention. They all moved the needle in their own unique way.

Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Benjamin Disraeli, the Victorian novelist and Prime Minister:  “I have brought myself by long meditation to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and nothing can resist a will which will stake even existence upon its fulfillment.”

Gandhi:  Many people, especially, ignorant people want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct or for being years ahead of your time. If you are right and you know it speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”

Abraham Lincoln:  “With public sentiment nothing will fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who molds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.”

Frederick Douglas, abolitionist and statesman:  “Power cedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

And finally, as the Roman poet Ovid famously observed:  “Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.”