Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who is Ted Kennedy?

Two weeks ago, I testified before Sen. Ted Kennedy’s HELP Committee on the state of cancer research today. Lance Armstrong, Steve Case, and Elizabeth Edwards were some of the other witnesses. I brought my 16 year old daughter, Kalli, and my 18 year old son, Reid with me to observe the hearing. They were both excited to meet Lance and Steve in particular. When I told them they would meet Sen. Kennedy too, Kalli asked “Who is he?” I was dumbfounded. I had no idea where to start. He and his family have been at the center of American – and world – politics my entire lifetime. How was I to relate his career to my daughter’s generation?

I explained to Kalli who the Kennedy family was (she knew John Kennedy’s story) and then I realized the only answer I could give was that Ted Kennedy is simply the most successful and important legislator of the last 40 years. In lectures I give on how to advocate successfully in Washington, I always cite Kennedy as the most successful person in town in getting not what he wants every year, but what he needs – and after a while that meant that he has gotten a lot of what he wanted.

The news of Sen. Kennedy’s tumor so soon after he held a hearing to explore how to help others with this kind of tumor (Steve Case’s brother Dan died from a glioblastoma) and every other form of cancer is too poignant for comment. All of us at FasterCures hope and pray that Sen. Kennedy recovers as quickly as possible. All of us need him. We cannot afford to lose a warrior like Ted Kennedy in the fight against cancer.

Greg Simon, President, FasterCures

You can now sign up to receive FasterCures blogs by email.

1 comment:

Wendy Taylor said...

Thanks for sharing your very nice comments, Greg. This week, I also found myself trying to explain to my eight year old son, Jackson, who Senator Kennedy is. He knows about John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy, but this was my first opportunity to tell him about Senator Ted Kennedy.

My son, who already deeply cares about social justice and taking care of others, looks to these individuals as heroes. It’s nice to be able to teach him about heroes like Senator Kennedy who are alive today, and who have dedicated their whole lives to helping those who are less fortunate. I’ll read your blog entry to him tonight.