April's CR Diary

A diary of a 30 year old woman following CRON, or Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, for health and life extension.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Why Should CR People Support the M Prize?

It's an age-old question, like "What is art?" "Do you believe in love at first sight?" "Should redheads wear pink?" "Should redheads wear red?"

No one should wear orange.

But anyway, it's a question that's come up for me a lot lately because in my new role as fundraiser working in support of the M Prize (that's www.mprize.org for those of you who are new bloggiefriends or have been hiding under a rock for the last two months) I've been talking with some of my CR friends about their thoughts on the issue. My biases are clear: I believe strongly in the power of the M Prize to mobilize scientists to find a way to not just slow but also reverse aging. I've decided to leave a very successful nine year organizing career in order to put all my time and energy into mobilizing funds and public support for the Prize. So you know where I'm coming from.

The issue of why CR folks in particular should support the M Prize was floating around in my head as I began my day, at 2 am, with my extremely soft cat lounging against the side of my face. I can come up with one very simple reason: We may be the only ones around to benefit from the results.

The other day when I was drinking coffee with one of my non-CR'd Three Hundred brothers, he said that he didn't expect to be alive to see the fruition of the project. I thought to myself: I do! Not that my commitment would change if I didn't (aren't you guys wondering how it is that Aubrey de Grey taught me how to spell commitment? He was editing a press release I wrote about a month ago and that was one of many speeling errors!). For some people, CR isn't worth the effort, or they're not convinced it will bring significant lifespan increases in humans. However, I'd hate to miss the dawn of radical life-extending biomedicine by a decade or so. If CR works, and some of us think it does, it might just buy us enough time.

For those of us who already invest a substantial amount of our time and energy into the only known way to slow aging down, it only makes sense that we invest some amount of our money into a prize that can motivate scientists and the public at large to focus on finding a real solution, one that does not just hold off the inevitable for a few years, but that repairs the damage so that we can keep on going, just like the Energizer Bunny fresh from a battery change.

Oh dear, my 4 am explanations of rather complex scientific concepts leave something to be desired. I don't really sleep much, and I'm working on that, but this morning my cat woke me up for a two am cuddle and I never went back to sleep. I used to refer to myself as the Organizer Bunny... it just keeps going and going. CR has helped me function without sleep, but there are limits to what even CR can do, as evidenced by above silly paragraph.

Speaking of limits to what CR can do... come on guys, we love CR, we really really believe in it, we spend a lot of time chopping vegetables and stuff. So why are two of your favorite CR Society personalities throwing their entire lives into SENS and the M Prize?

Cause CR just isn't enough. You're doing CR because you want to slow your own aging process down. You want to live longer, healthier. Maybe you like the side effects, maybe you don't. But you definitely want what you believe CR will give you: more years of life and health.

Is there going to be a point when you don't want that anymore? Are you going to hit 107 years old (gotta clarify, as some of us hit 107 pounds awhile back!) and think to yourself, "Wow, I really enjoyed living to be 107 instead of 87, but I'm done now, it's really boring to be alive and healthy and watching my great grandchildren play Little League or fly spaceships around or whatever it is kids are doing these days. I think I'd rather just get sick and die." Not to channel Alicia Silverstone in Clueless or anything, but AS IF!!!!

If you're already doing CR, you're already doing something that is much, much harder than just throwing some cash at a problem. The great thing about the M Prize is that it doesn't require you to go out there, do research, figure out what you think scientists should be working on, or touch any mice. You don't have to back one horse or another -- you're able to fund the entire race. As more and more regular, ordinary people like us join on as donors, and preferably as Three Hundred members, we send a powerful message to the research community and to the decision makers at places like the NIA and the NIMH. We're regular folks who are willing to make sacrifices in our every day lives to put an end to suffering that we think is pointless.

You're in this thing with me for the long haul, you know, all you bloggiefriends who tune in every day, sometimes twice a day, sometimes eight times a day. You've already doing the thing that's really hard: cutting your calories, disciplining yourself to live a life in which you may be hungry, freakishly skinny, have social struggles, lose... yeah, whatever. If you've already decided to do CR, you've already decided that your health, for the long term, is worth some amount of sacrifice in the short term. So go to www.mprize.org and cough up some cash. You can do it. Write me that you did and I'll send you a recipe. Or a refrigerator magnet, if you'd prefer.


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