COLUMBIA, Md. (July 14, 2010) – The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission (Commission) today remembers and honors the life and work of Commission member and patient advocate, John L. Kellermann III. Kellermann passed away on July 12, 2010 from pancreatic cancer. A member of the Commission since its inception in 2006, Kellermann was appointed by Maryland Speaker of the House Mike Busch. Kellermann was one of Maryland’s most outspoken and committed patient advocates for all types of stem cell research. In addition to pancreatic cancer, Kellermann courageously battle dearly Parkinson’s disease for 18 years.
“John was relentless in his advocacy work on behalf of patients not only in the State of Maryland, but across the country,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Through his work, he leaves a legacy of hope and optimism for patients and families suffering from debilitating diseases and medical conditions. Maryland will continue to honor John through our steadfast commitment to lifesaving research through the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund.”
“During his four years of service on the Commission, John was a source of inspiration to us all and a constant reminder of the importance of stem cell research,” said Margaret Conn Himelfarb, chair of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission. “Despite his personal health challenges, John remained committed and focused on creating a medical future more hopeful than his own. We will miss John dearly and will dedicate our efforts directing and advancing this critical research to his honored memory.”
In addition to serving on the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission, Kellermann was active with the grassroots coalition Maryland Families for Stem Cell Research and testified in Annapolis and Washington, D.C. in support of stem cell research. The Genetics Policy Institute presented Kellermann with the organization’s prestigious Inspiration Award at the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit. He was also invited to The White House on March 9, 2009 by President Barack Obama to be present for the formal issuing of Executive Order (EO) 13505, “Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells.”
“John will be dearly missed by the Parkinson’s community. He touched many individuals personally with his kindness, his compassion, and his wise counsel on living with Parkinson’s. He volunteered countless hours as a support group leader, spokesman, friend, and Advisory Board member of the Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center,” said Dr. Ted M. Dawson,director of the Johns Hopkins Parkinson's Disease Center and scientific director of the Johns Hopkins Institute of Cell Engineering.