KRAUSE’S GROVE, 2 Beach Road, Halfmoon, NY


1:00 PM TO 6:00 PM ~ RAIN OR SHINE

$30.00 per adult ticket at gate - $20.00 for children under 12

includes donation to Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

5 hour picnic with soda, beer, games, raffles, 50/50, live music




Abundant food and dessert being served 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Those who wish to join a pre-picnic motorcycle cavalcade around the beautiful Tomhannock Reservoir in Ali’s honor will meet at the Troy Plaza on Hoosick Street at 10:00 A.M. for sign up and the cavalcade will kick off at 11:00 A.M. sharp.

For more info: https://www.facebook.com/Rally4Ali

For Further Information


For the Run, Wally Urzan


For the Picnic & Cause

Alison Fisk


Tuesday, June 30, 2009


BOSTON, June 30 (Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N) is teaming up with U.S. biotech company Geron Corp (GERN.O) to use stem cells to develop products that could give drug developers an early warning of whether new medicines are toxic.

The venture is the largest U.S. conglomerate's most direct attempt to make a commercial products from human embryonic stem cells. Scientists say the cells hold great medical promise, but their use has been highly controversial in the United States.

Embryonic stem cells are the body's master cells and can grow into various types of human tissue, such as skin or internal organs.

GE and Geron aim to use an existing batch of stem cells to develop sample human cells that drug companies could use to test the toxicity of new drugs early in the development process, before they are ready for animal testing or human clinical trials.

The venture would not sell actual stem cells, but rather heart or liver cells derived from stem cells, said Konstantin Fiedler, general manager of cell technologies at GE Healthcare.

"This could replace, to a large extent, animal trials," Fiedler said in a telephone interview. "Once you have human cells and you can get them in a standardized way, like you get right now your lab rats in a standardized way, you can actually do those experiments on those cells."

Fiedler emphasized the products are still in an early development stage. GE estimated it would have the first commercial cells ready next year.

Geron shares surged on the news of its deal with the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company, which has made expanding its healthcare operation a major strategic push this year.


Scientists say that research on embryonic stem cells, which are the most malleable, has enormous potential to develop treatments for cancer and other diseases [ID:nN08329064].

But using stem cells derived from days-old human embryos has been intensely controversial in the United States, where opponents say the destruction of any embryo is wrong. The Obama administration in March lifted a Bush-era decision that had forbidden federally funded researchers to work with the cells.

GE and Geron said their research would use batches of stem cell listed on a National Institutes of Health registry, which would make the work eligible for U.S. funding.

GE will fund the research and manufacturing and sell any resulting products, while Menlo Park, California-based Geron will provide its data on stem cells.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the arrangement.

Needham analyst Mark Monane, who follows Geron, wrote in a note to clients that the financial terms were likely "modest," but added: "The value of the opportunity lies in the quality of the partner."

In May, GE reached a deal with Cytori Therapeutics Inc (CYTX.O) to commercialize that company's StemSource product.

GE, whose healthcare unit is best known for advanced imaging systems such as CT-scan machines, said in May it planned to invest $3 billion in research and development, with a primary focus on making its products less costly to buy and operate.

GE has had since 2005 a policy to do research on stem cells, while following all U.S. and applicable laws, but had not tried to commercialize a product from them, Fiedler said.

Geron shares were up $1.14 at $7.83 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, while GE was down 8 cents at $11.68 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Smaller U.S. companies including StemCells Inc (STEM.O) and Aastrom Biosciences Inc (ASTM.O) and Osiris Therapeutics Inc (OSIR.O) have focused on stem-cell research, although the technology has also caught the attention of drug giants such as No. 1 Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), which last year quietly launched a stem cell initiative. (Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston, additional reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Andre Grenon)

Monday, June 29, 2009


It takes courage to break unknown ground and accomplish something no one else had ever contemplated. Douglas Melton, 55, displayed that courage when he took his concern for his own diabetic children and applied it to a controversial area of science — stem cells — that could benefit all of us.
It is fortunate that Melton, a molecular biologist at Harvard University, already had the research skills to tackle the complex condition that afflicts his son and daughter. He had been studying the cell structures of frogs and mice — both ideal animal models for conducting cellular research. His genius in this area led to the creation of new stem-cell lines that could one day replace the malfunctioning pancreatic cells that lead to diabetes. More important, his methods sidestep all the debates about embryonic research because the cells don't start out as embryos at all, but rather as adult skin cells.
The potential benefits of Melton's work by no means stop with diabetes. Through his research, adult cells may one day be transformed into a variety of tissues to replace other human cells that no longer function. One application is well under way, with stem cells being developed that could replace the dopamine-producing brain cells in Parkinson's patients. It's not too much of a stretch to say Parkinson's could be cured someday — and that Melton's research could be what does it.
Some would say Providence played a hand in the circumstances that led Melton down this trailblazing path. But whatever the reason or circumstances, it is Melton's will and perseverance that allow him to make great strides in his field — benefiting not just us, but also generations to come.
Hatch, a Republican Senator from Utah, backed federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research
Fast Fact: During the stem-cell-funding ban, Melton gave free cell lines to labs that needed them


In the wake of tragedy, a "Rally for Ali"

June 20, 2009
After nearly 25 years of fighting, 48-year-old Alison Urzan died from complications of type one, insulin-dependent diabetes. And yet even after her death, there was a need for hope, and her family requested that contributions in Alison's memory be made to HSCI.

Three weeks after her death, family and many friends organized an event in her honor called "Rally for Ali." Ali and her husband enjoyed riding motorcycles through the beautiful landscapes of upstate New York and the day included a 50-mile motorcycle trek to some of her favorite places.

At the end of the ride a benefit was held, which included food, live music, a silent auction, and a 50/50 raffle. While the majority of the proceeds raised went toward funeral and medical expenses, the balance was donated to HSCI.

When Ali's mother, Alice, was asked why they chose HSCI, she said, "That's where Ali would want the contributions to go. To go to research toward a cure."

Continuing to make a difference in Ali's honor, her friends and family are currently organizing another rally for this fall.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Here's something that people with poor or no vision will be excited about: three patients had their sight restored in less than a month by contact lenses cultured with stem cells.

All three patients were blind in one eye. The researchers extracted stem cells from their working eyes, cultured them in contact lenses for 10 days, and gave them to the patients. Within 10 to 14 days of use, the stem cells began recolonizing and repairing the cornea.
Of the three patients, two were legally blind but can now read the big letters on an eye chart, while the third, who could previously read the top few rows of the chart, is now able to pass the vision test for a driver's license. The research team isn't getting over excited, still remaining unsure as to whether the correction will remain stable, but the fact that the three test patients have been enjoying restored sight for the last 18 months is definitely encouraging. The simplicity and low cost of the technique also means that it could be carried out in poorer countries.
This is incredible and potentially game changing. It's stuff like this that makes you realize that we live in the future, and it's awesome


Some diabetes patients who cannot live without insulin injections now have a new option: a transplant of islet cells, which produce insulin in the body. Drawing upon advances in cell biology and endocrinology, surgeons go through a 14-hour process to isolate and purify the islet cells from a donated pancreas. While there's no guarantee the success will last, it may prevent some life-threatening situations.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Diabetic patients who couldn't live without insulin injections are now enjoying insulin independence thanks to a new type of transplant.
Annie Anderson has a refreshing outlook on life, but that wasn't the case a few months ago. Anderson, an islet cell transplant patient says, "Totally unaware of where I was ... didn't know what had happened ... very confused -- I couldn't speak. My mind was working, but I couldn't get words out." Anderson is describing the scene that unfolded when her diabetes caused her to slip into unconsciousness. Episodes like that are no longer a threat for her. Becasue her type 1 diabetes was corrected through an experimental cell transplant.
Dr. Paul Gores, director of pancreas and islet transplantation at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., says, "An islet cell transplant is a means of reversing diabetes in a patient who has lost their beta cells, which are the important cells within the little clusters of cells we call islets, which reside inside the pancreas, which produce insulin."
Transplant surgeons go through a painstaking 14-hour process to isolate and purify the islet cells from a donated pancreas. Those cells will produce insulin. Patients who go through the procedure must take immune-suppressing drugs for life with no guarantee the success will last. Dr. Gores says, "Of course, we don't know that at six, seven, eight, nine years maybe the insulin production they have right now might just totally go away and they might get totally back to square one."
For Anderson, there is no question the transplant was the right choice. She says, "It's totally changed my life, and I am so fortunate and grateful."
The longest study shows about 80 percent of patients still produce some insulin five years after their islet cell transplant, but not enough to continue to go without insulin injections. Only about 2 percent of type 1 diabetics are considered candidates for islet cell transplantation at this point, but doctors hope that number will increase.
BACKGROUND: A new experimental transplant procedure has been shown to successfully treat Type I diabetes in at least one patient, relieving that patient of the need to take daily insulin injections.
THE PROBLEM: Type I diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Diabetes sufferers must inject insulin every day, or their blood sugar levels can rise out of control. Insulin is a chemical substance in the body (technically a hormone) that is needed to regular blood sugar levels. It also helps the body use fat and protein.
THE SOLUTION: Islets are cell clusters in the pancreas that control the release of insulin as needed to maintain normal levels of blood sugar in the body. Before the transplant, islet cells are collected from a donor pancreas. A catheter is inserted into the patient's abdomen and threaded into the portal vein, which carries blood to the liver. Then a teaspoonful of islet cells is injected through the catheter. The patient is conscious but anesthetized during the procedure, and can usually return home within a day or two. More than one transfusion of islet cells may be needed, and the patient must remain on immune-suppressant therapy for life to prevent the transplanted tissue from being rejected by the body. Immunosuppressive drugs can have severe potential side effects, so the procedure is not appropriate for the vast majority of diabetic patients.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Only a few medical centers in the world currently offer this procedure, which is experimental and performed as clinical research. Ten of those centers are located in the U.S., and include Carolinas Medical Center. See www.carolinas.org.
ABOUT TYPE I DIABETES: This is known as an autoimmune disease, because the body destroys its own cells: those that produce insulin. When all those cells have been destroyed, the symptoms of Type I diabetes appear. These include unexplained weight loss; vision problems; more frequent urination; and feeling very hungry, thirsty or tired. Among other long-term complications, Type I diabetes means there is an increased risk of kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease and blindness.


Thursday, June 18, 2009


Note from Ali …

To my circles and circles

and circles of friends

this note’s to enlighten

that LIFE never ends.

It invites us to celebrate

Rock On and sing

and grab all the good times

our Circles all bring.

I still listen with love

when you speak, as before.

So listen right back

as I touch you once more.

Spirit bubbles within us

in heavenly bliss

spreading laughter and sunshine

…my huge hug and kiss.

To my circles and circles

and circles of friends

stay close to each other

as Summertime ends.

Stay connected through Springtime

through Winter and Fall

as I dance ‘round our Circles

still loving you ALL.

Unconditionally, as always,

Ali Baba

© 2009, Alice Connally Fisk

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Ali marched with me for years in the Albany parade when I was the secretary of INA back in the 80's. She was always very happy about going to NYC with us for the St. Patrick's Day parade and she LOVED the excitement created by the Pipes and Drums of The Emeral Society NYPD Band. I have their 1998 30th Anniversary tape but could find nothing on their site or on Google about where newer cd's by them could be found. If you find out anything, please let me know.

p.s. Keep up the WONDERFUL work on Ali's Cause site and her blog.


Dear Mrs. Fisk:

Thank you so much for sending along the link to the Rally For Ali website. It’s quite impressive, and is both a fun and touching way to pay tribute to your daughter.

Since you have a link up to the NYSCF presentation, I thought you might be interested in also providing a link to the video of Doug Melton’s appearance on Charlie Rose. http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/10274

Thank you again for sending me and the folks at HSCI all the updates as you plan the next Rally for Ali. Your efforts are an inspiration.

With best wishes,


Charlotte Troyanowski


Sunday, June 14, 2009



Our beautiful and spirited daughter Ali suffered from type 1 insulin dependant diabetes for over 25 years and crossed over at 48 years of age from a multitude of complications of this horrible disease. Right now diabetes is far too profitable to cure. But there is HOPE on the horizon as legions of people with diabetes are now becoming more and more fed up, and just plain sick and tired, of the never ending "newer and better" gee-gaws sold to "control" this and that aspect of this deadly disease. We don’t need ever bigger, and ever more profitable, patchwork solutions. WE NEED A CURE! People with diabetes, their families and friends are no longer gullible enough to try to flag down a fighter jet full of diabetic complications with just a candle. We WILL instead be shining klieg lights worldwide, and RIGHT NOW, on the complications of this relentless killer disease, and we will settle for nothing less than A CURE! The Rally for Ali is to be held on Sunday, October 11, 2009 ~ Columbus Day Weekend ~ in Troy, NY. All are welcome to attend this celebration of Ali's vivacious life ~ while at the same time knowing that the overriding reason for her Rally is to raise money for research, as that is what our courageous little Ali would want. All donations received will be sent to Harvard Stem Cell Institute where dedicated scientists are working feverishly to find a cure for diabetes so that future generations will never have to suffer from its heartbreaking complications. God Bless all those who join us in this very worthy Rally ~ OUR CAUSE. We love you to pieces Ali Baba ~ always have and always will.
Mom and Dad Fisk