Jon Shestack Productions

July 8, 2013 Dear Friends, I am writing to let you know that I will no longer be serving on the ICOC . I was appointed by Fabian Nunez, was fortunate to serve a little bit past my term, and now John Perez,the Speaker of the Assembly, has made his own excellent appointment. I can't tell you what an honor it has been to serve on this board. I admit that there were many times when I was so in awe of the qualifications and talents of my colleagues that I felt like a kid who was mysteriously allowed to sit at the adult table. Over eight years there were moments that were inspiring, some were contentious, and there was a bruising number of meetings but through it all, the board was involved, passionate and, will forever be for me, the gold standard when it comes to integrity. The same goes double for the staff---truly the most excellent, devoted, committed group of people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Recently, as it has become even more essential for the advocates to attend grant reviews, I have gotten to know the staff better. What an amazing group of people! I will miss them. I am proud to have played a small role in establishing the most robust environment for stem cell science in the world, one that will certainly lead to treatments and cures in our lifetime and the lifetime of our loved ones. But the biggest privilege was being able to be an advocate for the people of California, in particular for those affected by mental illness. Often, these are our most vulnerable citizens. Frequently they are our youngest and most powerless, and to give them a voice is a great gift. But it is also a great responsibility that weighs on me more heavily today than ever before. When I started at CIRM, my sweet son with autism was 12. Now
409 N Larchmont blvd Los Angeles, CA 90004 tel: 323.468.1113 fax: 323.468.1114

Jon Shestack Productions
he is 21. Over eight years our family has learned more about how many are the challenges that await him and how few the opportunities he has to look forward to. We have seen his world get smaller and smaller. While my son is special to me. He is not unique. There are thousands and thousands affected by mental illness who need a better life. I sometimes feel that I have failed these people, in particular those affected by autism or cerebral palsy. Though CIRM ran firstrate workshops on these disorders, we did not do all we could to follow up, put out disease- specific RFAs and get in proposals that addressed the workshop recommendations. I wish I had been more persuasive. The science and methodology was not there eight years ago, but now, largely because of CIRM's leadership, it might be possible to discover treatments for CP and to understand the disease mechanism of autism.That would be amazing! Forgive me for sounding like an advocate, but I urge you all to keep an eye out in the future for opportunities to help these people who are in such desperate need of good news. In the movies, the third act is where the hero takes stock of all the previous wins and losses, all the hardships and lessons learned, and she puts all that knowledge together in new, and surprising ways until victory is within reach! As Cirm enters its third act, I hope it will do the same. I hope it will challenge itself, always put the urgency of the mission ahead of everything else and be willing to question the policies that have been so successful in the past, and consider that new ones may be needed for the future. And this is the future as I see it for CIRM. We will have faith, but we will continue to earn our miracles We will use our hearts and our minds to rip those miracles out of the dreamy future and make them real today. We will seek out the best scientists and encourage them to use all their wisdom, art and discernment to bring us cures. And when we have done that, we will do it again the next day. We will be optimistic, but not satisfied. We will question authority, despise complacency and above all love those among us in need of healing--this is the obligation
409 N Larchmont blvd Los Angeles, CA 90004 tel: 323.468.1113 fax: 323.468.1114

Jon Shestack Productions
without end, whose reward is also without end. I want to thank CIRM for giving me hope, and for giving so many of us a place to turn hope into work. Sincerely, Jonathan Shestack

409 N Larchmont blvd Los Angeles, CA 90004 tel: 323.468.1113 fax: 323.468.1114

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