The Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is inviting patients and supporters to send Dr. Ron Davis a message for his birthday and a donation to support his End ME/CFS Project.
The OMF said that the messages would be compiled into a “massive card” that would be presented to him.
Dr. Davis, of Stanford University, will be 75 this Sunday, July 17. He is world-famous as one of the fathers of the modern era of genetics, whose work made the Human Genome Project possible, and as a frequent producer of game-changing biotechnology.
He is also well known among patients as the father of Whitney Dafoe, who is gravely ill with ME/CFS, and as the director of the OMF’s Scientific Advisory Board for the End ME/CFS Project, which began in October 2014.
Dr. Davis’s status has allowed him to assemble a board including three Nobel Prize winners and five members of the National Academy of Sciences, and scientists have flocked to join the project. Their work uses a “big data” approach to analyze the results of thousands of biological tests conducted on blood and other samples from patients, especially the severely ill. A presentation by Dr. Davis at June’s Invest in ME conference in London drew lengthy applause when he presented examples of the early findings revealing severe biochemical deficiencies in individual patients (the presentation will appear on the conference DVD, available from the organisers).
Dr. Davis is showing no signs of slowing down. He said, “I really enjoy working on problems that others think are unsolvable, and I’ve been finding, to my surprise, that the older I get, the easier it is to take on those problems”.
This was evident earlier this week when a patient used the OMF’s Q&A thread on Phoenix Rising to ask why enterovirus testing was not being done in the study of severely ill patients. Dr. Davis responded that they were going to do such testing but were inventing better methods for it. He said, “In the past people have done a single tube assay for each type of virus. We are designing a single tube assay with probes for all known viruses.” The new technology would, he said, have an impact on medicine in general, and that doctors “will be able to test for all known viruses in one test and it will cost about the same as testing for one virus costs now.”
Online comments about Dr. Davis and his work show the affection and gratitude of the patient population. One patient said, “To me, it is more about the number of donations, not the amount of donations. If everyone who can afford it could just manage a small donation, imagine how many donations that would be, and what a message it would send to Dr. Davis.”
Donations and short messages (180 characters, approximately 35–40 words) can be given here. Supporters can also help by spreading the Facebook and Twitter announcements about Dr. Davis’s birthday.
A video about Dr. Davis’s life and career, made by his students and colleagues for his 70th birthday, can be seen here.
Image: Stanford University
Last November, I announced that I was stepping down as Executive Director to focus on my health and well-being. Since then, our entire Board of Directors have led a wide search for the right person to lead #MEAction into the future.