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montfort

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Review for Let there Be Hope Medical Research Institute, Sun City, AZ, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have had HIV for over twenty-seven years, and maybe longer than that. And back in the early nineties, when I had given up on therapies, and I had my partner was dying, I went to Let There Be Hope in a last ditch effort to keep us both alive. Mark had already been sent home from the hospital, having exhausted conventional medical attention, and was expected to live only a month to six weeks. I was in much better shape, having never had an opportunistic infection, but my T-cells were dangerously low.

Dr. Scolaro used the resources of Let There Be Hope to find an alternative therapy developed in Russia to help keep my partner alive for almost another years. With me, he applied to mix and match the different HIV medicines, some of which had only just been approved, insisting that the virus was probably mutating to fast for any one or two prescribed therapies to do the job of lower HIV to acceptable levels.

This therapeutic approach, known now as "the cocktail," is the recognized treatment for AIDS around the world; at the time, it was controversial. But Dr. Scolaro's insistence on keeping voluminous scientific records covering his clinical applications helped prove to other doctors that Let There Be Hope was saving lives, and led many others to follow his example.

Let There Be Hope's efforts did not stop with treatment; we have always been looking for a cure. And a way to rebuild the immune system. The thought behind this search was that whatever we discovered through research could be applied, perhaps, to other viruses (which are presently much harder to restrain than bacteria). For example, we know the thymus plays a critical role in maintaining the immune system, and that HIV attacks it, so why not consider thymus transplants? We worked very hard on this and lots and lots of other ideas, many of which could still have applications today.

Let There Be Hope specialized in salvage cases, and expanded its reach to include other "incurable" illnesses, which, in reality, are only sicknesses for which we have yet to find a cure. Some of these maladies, like Parkinsons, are only poorly understood. Sometimes, even today, patients are largely left to shift for themselves. Let There Be Hope has always put a great emphasis on explaining to patients everything that can be known about their individual diseases, and helping them obtain something more than comfort.

Patients were not charged by Let There Be Hope for anything. One hundred percent of Let There Be Hope's budget went to care and research.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've personally experienced the results of this organization by remaining alive and regaining the vitality that allows me to work fourteen hour days as an executive producer in television. If I had listened to the established medical community's suggestions during the period of most intense crisis, I would be dead. Let There Be Hope allowed me to apply for experimental medications and helped me devise therapies that saved my life.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would make it far larger, give it larger facilities and publicize and expand its mission.

Role:  Board Member & I was both a patient, and later a board member, of Let There Be Hope.