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


Monday, November 29, 2010


Bret Michaels tells Diabetes Forecast the inside story of his health crisis


Dayle Kern703-549-1500 ext. 2290
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Musician and reality-TV star Bret Michaels has been through a lot this year, from an emergency appendectomy to a life-threatening subarachnoid hemorrhage, followed by a mild stroke that led to the discovery of a hole in his heart – all within six weeks. Michaels, who has lived with type 1 diabetes since he was six years old, took time to open up to Diabetes Forecast, the consumer magazine of the American Diabetes Association, and share the details of his experience. The December issue of Diabetes Forecast also includes an interview with Michaels’s brain surgeon, Joseph Zabramski, MD.
Bret Michaels on the Dec 2010 Cover of Diabetes ForecastMichaels stayed strong through the appendectomy and through the subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding at the base of the brain) – even when his doctor told him that his chance of survival was about 50-50. It wasn’t until the discovery of a hole in his heart that he started to feel down about his health.  "Now I’m a guy who fights, fights, fights,” Michaels says, “but that one took the wind out of my sails... Normally I deal with pain by laughing at a lot of it, but this one depressed me."

But Zabramski told Michaels that the heart defect could be corrected (surgery has been scheduled for January), and Michaels regained hope about his future. "When I got back from the hospital," says Michaels, "I went out on my property and took a walk and got straight with God and with myself. I said, 'Listen, I’m going to make every effort to get better, just give me a chance.' That was it. I just mentally got myself positive, and that is exactly what helped me get through it."

Several times throughout his hospital stays, Michaels found his blood glucose levels higher than he liked. "I literally wrote down, on a legal form, ‘I will take my own injections,’ to release the hospital from any liability," he tells Diabetes Forecast. "I just knew I needed to take responsibility for whatever was going on with my blood sugar, and I finally got it down, with enough insulin, to the 140, 150 area."

It wasn’t long before Michaels appeared on Oprah and the Celebrity Apprentice, and even performed on American Idol. "I didn’t decide to make a comeback," he tells Diabetes Forecast. "It was all already planned; it was just a matter of whether I could make it or not."
From his goal for A1C tests to his musical, TV, and book projects for 2011, this is Bret Michaels, in his own words, and this is the inside story of just what happened in all those hospital rooms, what he did when things hit rock bottom – and how his diabetes, paradoxically, helped him pull through.
There are many heroes in the world of diabetes, so the December issue ofDiabetes Forecast also features "Doing Well and Doing Good," more success stories about people living with diabetes who actively give back to the diabetes community. These heroes range from age 9 to 70, have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and are making a difference in their own way.
This issue also includes:
  • A New Shine on an Old Medication: The story of metformin’s past, present, and possible future
  • How to Craft a Casserole: A step-by-step guide to updating this retro comfort food
  • A Victory to Celebrate: An Atlanta event promotes prevention in the African American community
Diabetes Forecast has been America's leading diabetes magazine for more than 60 years, offering the latest news on diabetes research and treatment to provide information, inspiration, and support to people with diabetes. 
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to stop diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visitwww.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in Englishand Spanish.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


DURANGO — U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette says she has enough bipartisan support to pass an embryonic stem-cell research bill. However, it's not clear whether Congress will take up the issue when members return from Thanksgiving break. Passing the defense authorization bill, food safety reform and addressing the expiring Bush tax cuts may not allow time for other issues.
DeGette told the Durango Herald that if Congress takes up stem cells, she thinks her bill would pass.
Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, who opposes the bill, said, "There is no reason to use what many Americans consider unethical and immoral — and that is the destruction of embryos for scientific research.
In March, President Barack Obama issued an executive order easing restrictions on federal research on human embryos but a federal judge said that violated a 1996 law prohibiting the use of tax dollars in work that harms embryos. An appeals court is now considering the issue.
A similar bill in the Senate is co-sponsored by Colorado's Sen. Michael Bennet.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Japan discovered so-called iPS cells, which pave the way for pursuing regenerative medicine therapies without destroying embryos.

Perhaps no scientist has had a greater impact on stem cell research than Dr. Shinya Yamanaka. While most of his colleagues were looking for ways to grow human embryonic stem cells into replacement tissues for treating patients, the Japanese researcher took the opposite approach and figured out how to rewind mature body cells to a flexible state in which they could again become many types of cells. His 2006 discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, paves the way for pursuing regenerative medicine therapies without the need to destroy embryos.

Yamanaka's primary lab is at Kyoto University in Japan, but he spends part of the year at UC San Francisco's Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, where he was a postdoctoral fellow in the 1990s. On Nov. 10 he received the $610,000 Kyoto Prize, which recognizes "significant contributions to the betterment of humankind," for his stem cell work. He has also won the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the Shaw Prize and the Robert Koch Prize. He recently spoke with The Times.

What prompted you to start working on iPS cells?

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In 2000, I became interested in how embryonic stem cells maintain their ability to develop into different kinds of cells. At the time, many laboratories were trying to turn embryonic stem cells into various functional cells. I thought the field was highly competitive, so I decided to go the opposite direction — [turning body cells] back to the embryonic state.

What advantages do iPS cells have over embryonic stem cells?

IPS cells can circumvent two obstacles faced by embryonic stem cells. One is the ethical controversy — we have to destroy embryos to isolate embryonic stem cells. The other is the risk of immune rejection when cells derived from embryonic stem cells are transplanted into a patient's body.

Do they have any disadvantages?

The safety of the cells. They are made by using retroviruses to introduce genes into mature cells, but the process can cause iPS cells to grow tumors if the retrovirus is inserted in the wrong part of the genome.

What is the long-term potential of these cells?

IPS cells can become an effective research tool for modeling drugs, screening drug compounds and testing for side effect or toxicity. In the future, when the safety and other issues are solved, iPS cell-derived functional cells may become sources for cell transplantation therapies.

What surprised you most about your research as it unfolded?

When our group succeeded in generating iPS cells, I never imagined so many researchers would begin working on this new technology — or that the research would advance at such a rapid pace.

What are the primary scientific hurdles that remain with iPS cells?

Scientists need to find out the methods to generate safer iPS cells, how to turn those cells into functional cells, and how to transplant resultant cells into a body. We also need to figure out how to use the cells to study diseases in the lab.

In the United States, the first clinical trial involving a therapy derived from human embryonic stem cells has just gotten underway. How do you feel about the pace of translating research into actual treatments?

The clinical trial using embryonic stem cells took a long time partly because use of the cells has caused an ethical controversy around the world. It is also true that it generally takes many years to turn basic research into clinical applications.

Some question why human embryonic stem cell research should continue when your discovery allows scientists to generate similar cells without destroying human embryos. What do you think?

Embryonic stem cells are still important for the development of iPS cell research. Findings from research on embryonic stem cells, such as methods to create various types of cells, have been applied to iPS cell research. That's why iPS cell research has evolved so rapidly. In addition, embryonic stem cells are used as control [comparison] materials when researchers conduct experiments on iPS cells and analyze their quality.

Many people speculate that you will win a Nobel Prize one day. Does that make it hard to get your work done?

I know some people have high expectations, but my concern is not thinking about winning a Nobel Prize. I worry about what I should do to bring iPS cell technology from the laboratory to the bedside as soon as possible.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Alison Fisk Urzan

Our 2nd Annual Rally for Ali was a fabulous success this September! The Picnic for a Cause generated significantly more publicity this year when Ali’s good friend Mary Dubois was interviewed by The Troy Record and Ali’s husband Wally Urzan was interviewed by the Albany Times Union. Both had excellent featured articles about Ali’s life cut short by diabetic complications and about this years picnic at Krause’s Grove with their photograph included in the interviews. Just as wonderful this year an additional 80 people, including the Capital District Scooter and Moped Club Riders, joined us to support diabetic research at Harvard Stem Cell Institute by attending our picnic. The CDSMC also made a great video, CDSMC Rides With The Big Boys found on Ali’s Blog. http://rally4ali.blogspot.com

Gary at Krause’s Grove has already received down payment for our 3rd Annual Rally for Ali and it is confirmed that our Picnic for A Cause will take place on Saturday, September 24, 2011. Please Save the Date! Wally has already established Blue Hand Luke will be playing at the 2011 Rally and Bill of the Green Mountain Pranksters and John of the John Morse Band have both also confirmed with Ali Mama next year’s gig.

Ali enthusiastically attended her beautiful picnic and all those there who know her best, and some who knew her not at all, felt her joyous presence amongst us.

In the past two years there have been many stories related to me, not only by Ali’s family but also by her many good friends, about how they felt Ali’s palpable presence at different times in their lives since she crossed over ~ whether at a concert attended by her friends, at the beach with the all-time summertime girl, at work or home, or simply driving in their car and a special song comes on while they were thinking of Ali. Some of her friends tell me that they think of her every single day, and know that she’s with them when they need her…

Someday I’m going to put all their stories together as such hints, symbols, and sometimes downright attention-getting happenings let us know that our loved one is still with us, visits us, sends us messages (if we pay attention) and gives us signs all the time that they’re around us still. The signs and symbols, the dreams and lucid dreams Ali has been sending us have been going on for over two years now and she continues to make herself known at different times, perceiving that her family and friends will share their stories so that others will be on the lookout for the same meaningful coincidences or synchronicities. Meaningfulness, that gives the person receiving such a message not only a subjective experience, but more importantly an inner “knowing” – when our outer world and our inner worlds connect. The most important thing is we keep an open mind to receiving such experiences when they occur and even more importantly noting when they do happen. When synchronicities are noted they seem to happen more frequently for some reason even though we can’t MAKE them happen.

Just weeks after Ali crossed over, on the day of her initial Rally in 2008, a motorcycle/car cavalcade gathered together in the Troy Plaza to pay tribute to Ali’s memory by riding around her favorite haunts. There were dozens of white/cream-colored butterflies soaring all around the Plaza that day; some people noticed them, others didn’t. Butterflies represent a visitation of a loved one crossed over. They are symbolic of Imagine, the whole of your life changing to such an extreme you are unrecognizable at the end of the transformation.

Two of the beauteous Ali Baba’s most recent visitations happened in May and in August of this year, 2010. The May visitation by Ali was at Ms. Jane’s annual Cinco de Mayo party. When one of Jane’s long-time friends was arriving at the festivities, she told Jane that she “caught a glimpse of Ali out of the corner of her eye” as she got out of her car. Ali was standing in the midst of a group of friends and was laughing. The sighting was only for a nanosecond in time and then it was gone. But Jane’s friend knew that Ali was thoroughly enjoying herself there that day. In Jane’s email to me: “My friend Barbara…she's the writer and a bit of a psychic, told me when she got out of her car to come here she saw Ali out of the corner of her eye, and that Ali was here and having fun (Of course I knew that already)”.

The August visitation by Ali was to her mother (me) and to her beloved niece Meaghan who was expecting her first child; both of whom have had Ali visitations before. It happened as they were going to an OBGYN appointment just before Maggie’s baby was born on August 23rd and involves the Karner Blue Butterfly. The butterfly itself has long been a Christian symbol of resurrection, for it disappears into a cocoon and appears dead, but emerges later far more beautiful and powerful than before. As a symbol of Christ's resurrection after three days in the grave it is also a symbol of every Christian's hope of resurrection from the dead. I won’t go into that visitation in this newsletter because I don’t want to bore the skeptics among us, but will send it via another email entitled Ali and the Karner Blue Butterfly: A Synchronicity to those of us who believe that indeed there are more astounding things twixt heaven and earth than this world dreams of…

…Our Annual Rally for Ali envisions a time in which future generations will never again suffer from the killer diabetes that persistently pounded away at our gorgeous, gutsy little Ali in the very prime of her incredibly compassionate life. And finally, as we again recall how Ali’s diabetes marched tenaciously onward for 25 years before cruelly snatching her from us, we collectively pledge that this year, and every year hereafter, we will rally for Ali until her insidious destroyer is utterly defeated ~ by US ALL.

Ali is always very excited to celebrate with us the unwavering certainty that LIFE triumphs over death as she blissfully joined us at this years event in her honor ~ Our Cause ~ the 2010 SECOND ANNUAL RALLY FOR ALI ! She very much looks forward to overseeing the preparations for the 3rd Annual Rally for Ali as life, on both sides of the veil, marches on!


God Bless and Much Love, The Family of Alison Fisk Urzan

"How does one become a butterfly?" she asked.

"You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."

One of the very last “just because” cards I ever received from my beautiful daughter Ali featured a drawing of two ladies on the front of the card wearing sunhats and carrying pocketbooks and bags and they appeared to be on their way to the beach (where else?). Her multitude of friends will appreciate the expressions in the card as they capture exactly the grand spirit Ali was born with and also the relationship Ali and I have always had all our lives and still continue to have. The verse reads…

The kind of friends we’ll always be…

We’ll go where we want and we’ll do what we like.

We’ll say what we mean. We’ll mean what we say.

We’ll question authority. We’ll push the envelope.

We’ll go out a limb. We’ll fall.

We’ll pick ourselves up and try again.

But we’ll be there for each other. And we’ll survive.

We’ll become. We’ll unravel.

We’ll roll up our sleeves and roll with the punches.

We’ll hurt. We’ll heal.

We’ll weep and feel.

And then in Ali’s own handwriting…


And we’ll grow stronger - because we are a “we,”

Because we are FRIENDS,

And we will be FOREVER!



Dear Sookie ~

Thank you so much for being my daughter first and, at your request, forever best friends second. For letting me know, and through me, letting your circles and circles of friends know, along with all others who are interested in meaningful coincidences by way of your Karner Blue butterfly synchronicity that you’re ALIVE AND WELL and that you’re still with us every single day! I Love you, forever. ~ Mom

Alison Fisk Urzan