A Review of 2023
As we reflect on 2023, I’ve been looking back on some of the highs and lows from this year. We made huge strides in fulfilling our mission of championing accessible and affordable MSC stem cell therapy as an integral part of standard care for those battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and other rare diseases. Let’s take a look at some of the exciting, remarkable, heartbreaking, and game-changing events that unfolded this year for us.
One of the most exciting things to happen in 2023 is the major steps taken to finish the production of our feature documentary, “The Sunshine Dreamer.” This documentary is designed to highlight the dire need for stem cell therapy treatment to be available to those affected by DMD and other rare diseases. The documentary also covers our founder, Ryan’s journey as the first patient with DMD to receive stem cell therapy, his love of music, his passion for life, and his drive to give those living with Duchenne the opportunity to live life to the fullest. Keep an eye out for the announcement of when the documentary will be released.
We have made great progress in our work to advance the accessibility of stem cell therapy. We have had numerous meetings with advocacy professionals and senators who drafted bills to help legalize this form of therapy in the U.S. We also worked with some of the top neuromuscular specialists and biotech professionals to help us get closer to reaching our original goal of starting a clinical trial using MSC cells for the treatment of DMD in the U.S.
To continue providing support, resources, and a voice for families battling DMD, CTFAC strengthened our Board of Directors with a variety of professionals who bring unique skills and backgrounds to support our mission. With this group of dedicated leaders, we have built a stronger foundation for our business processes and operations and developed a solid plan to achieve our goals in 2024.
Devastatingly, in 2023, we lost our founder, leader, and inspiration, Ryan Benton. This loss was unexpected and crushing for all of Ryan’s family, friends, and thousands of others around the world who were touched by his life and story. He loved life, music, friendship, and being an advocate for the DMD community. He was a true example of living life to the fullest and never giving up. He was constantly pouring his heart and soul into many projects involving building community, and we will do everything we can to make him proud by finishing what he started. While he lived well past the normal life expectancy of someone with Duchenne, we know that if he could have continued to receive stem cell therapy, his death could have been prevented. That’s why it’s more important than ever to continue this work and push to make stem cell therapy affordable and accessible to everyone in need.
To continue our mission and vision of advancing stem cell therapy and providing renewed hope for people with muscular dystrophy, we have been focused on preparing to launch a robust advocacy plan. This plan will ensure:
- The documentary “The Sunshine Dreamer” reaches widespread and targeted audiences to allow our mission to reach a new level of impact.
- Our efforts to help start a clinical trial remain on track.
- The hundreds of hours of footage and interviews from the documentary will be shared and help others learn and understand the benefits of this therapy.
- People will better understand the immense challenges of starting a clinical trial and why finally starting it will be such a big step forward.
- We expand our community of supporters and provide useful resources to our community of families fighting for their chance to receive therapy.
- Ryan’s blueprint of how to make the most of your life while fighting a terrible terminal muscle-wasting disease, IF you have access to stem cell therapy, will continue to inspire people around the globe.
Even though an exciting and productive 2023 ended with a devastating loss, we are prepared and driven to continue Ryan’s legacy. We will push forward and do everything we can to rewrite the narrative, enhance the standard of care, and create a future where MSC stem cell therapy is accessible and affordable for all.
We are grateful for each of our dedicated supporters, new and old, and look forward to progressing, learning, innovating, and growing in 2024!