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Witnesses Speak Out Against Proposed Medical Research Cuts

October 1, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ An opera singer, a mother of quadruplets and two congressmen joined representatives of nearly two dozen medical groups Thursday in paying tribute to the giant strides medical research has taken and in speaking out against proposed cuts in federal aid for research.

″Budget cutbacks to save money in the short term are not prudent when there is good reason to believe that serious long-range losses will result,″ said Dr. Art Ulene, the medical expert for NBC-TV’s ″Today″ show.

His message was echoed by the other speakers. Some told stories of the pain they, or members of their family, have gone through and their hopes that others may not have to suffer.

Beverly Jarrett was one. Her son Scott has a spinal muscular disorder, and she said she was told on her son’s first birthday that he would probably not live another year.

″Scott’s 6 now and we all have hope that a cure will be found,″ Mrs. Jarrett said. ″The research may not help Scott, but it would help others so they would not have to go through the pain our family and Scott have suffered.″

Opera singer Roberta Peters said she started working for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 25 years ago, after the child of a friend was diagnosed with the disease.

″The reasons for supporting biomedical research have never been greater than now,″ she said.

Elaine Stirk, the mother of the quadruplets, said her four children are thriving because they were treated with an experimental drug after they were born prematurely.

″I believe saving the lives of these babies and preserving their health is one of the best investments our society can make,″ Mrs. Stirk said.

Rep. Vic Fazio, D-Calif., who has had asthma since childhood, and Rep. Tony Coehlo, D-Calif., an eplipsy sufferer, spoke of the need for financial assistance for medical research from both private industry and the federal government.

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