Obama's decision could change one Auburn family's life

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | e-mail

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - President Obama fulfilled a campaign promise Monday by signing an executive order,  overturning the Bush administration's previous ban on embryonic stem cell research. News Leader Nine caught up with a local father who says stem cell research could change his son's life.

Eight years ago, 22 year old, Jake Giambrone was injured while trying out for the wrestling team at Auburn High School. Jake's father, Joseph Giambrone explained, "The coach fell on his neck and broke it. He has C 4-5 which is his cervical vertebra broken."

After medical trips to China and Ecuador and six years of therapy, Jake has made some physical progress, "He's gotten partial use of his shoulders, forearms and fingers."

Giambrone understand embryonic research is controversial, but wishes people would fully understand the process before judging it, "All we want to do is use discarded embryos to allow them to be used in research, then in the future to help treat or cure individuals rather than have them destroyed."

Obama's choice to overturn the federal funding ban is good news for the family.

"We're all excited about it and we feel like the Bush Administration put this off for 8 years and we lost time and money and effort, but we feel like the future is good," said Giambrone.

And Jake has quite a future awaiting him after he graduates from Auburn University and enrolls in law school. His father told News Leader Nine, "He will devote some of his time to help further government regulations and laws for the disabled and those less fortunate than him."

The President is also expected to support an executive order that would protect scientific policies from political influence.

Opponents of this federal funding say the research is using embryos, which they consider to be human lives, but to the Giambrone's, they consider it a change for Jake's quality of life.