The late Tom Lantos - U.S. Congress member and Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee - was a great friend to the PH community. After he died in February 2008, the Tom Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice was formed to continue his legacy.
Our Washington Counsel, Gavin Lindberg and I were honored to be invited to Capitol Hill to attend today's award ceremony for the first Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize. The honoree was the Dalai Lama. Speakers included Sen. John McCain and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
In a video before the Dalai Lama received the prize, he was quoted as saying:
Unless each individual develops a sense of responsibility,
the whole community cannot move forward.
I find that a striking thought, one that succinctly describes the reason PHA's success despite the relatively small size of our community
So how do things get intertwined?
After the award ceremony, Gavin and I had a chance to talk to members of the Lantos family and many of Tom's former staffers. Our main topic of conversation was Tom and Annette's grandaughter, Charity. Charity is a young and talented opera singer and PH patient. Several years ago, she sang at the Kennedy Center to build awareness of PH. Then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was her pianist. The event drew worldwide coverage.
Last week Charity got her new lungs at the Cleveland Clinic. As of today, she is gradually being brought out of an induced coma. Everyone is hopeful.. She, like so many others, is in our prayers.