On Thursday February 28, 2013, the end of an era at the Committee of Ten Thousand occurred as National Government Relations Coordinator, friend, adviser and superb DC staff Dave Cavenaugh clocked his last day as the Government Relations Coordinator. After fifteen years of excellent, continuous service he had decided to step down. Dave has become an institution at COTT and his service over that entire time frame was nothing short of exemplary. For those of us at the inception of both, the final passage of Ricky Ray and the establishment of COTT as a long-term stakeholder in the federal regulatory structure for our nation’s blood supply, each would not have been possible without the contribution of Dave Cavanaugh. While we are sorry to see Dave leave, COTT wishes him all the best in his future endeavors, and we are pleased that discussions are underway regarding how Dave would continue to bring us the ongoing benefit of his unparalleled knowledge regarding for instance, “The Affordable Care Act” and how its implementation is impacting people with hemophilia and other high cost rare diseases.
We will continue to seek Dave’s input on these important issues where possible. We are excited to announce that Michael Allen will become our new Administrative Assistant working at our Washington D.C. office. Michael is an intelligent and passionate young man and will bring a youthful enthusiasm to COTT and its ongoing work in advocating for blood safety, informed consent and equity of care to people of all backgrounds and cultures, and chronic disease. Michael is a 27-year-old man with sickle-cell disease, in a family with three children over two generations with sickle-cell disease. He is representative of another of the recipient communities dependent on this nation’s blood supply to maintain a relative modicum of health and wellness as well as quality of life.
From our perspective, the new “Canaries In the coal mine” are those disease communities dependent on the blood components side of our nation’s blood supply. Sickle Cell is at the top of the list among others, as components are unable to withstand the very viral inaction technologies which have rendered the plasma derivative side of the blood supply the safest t it has ever been. We are concerned about what we perceive as a lack of the financial and political will necessary to significantly move the equation regarding pathogen reduction technologies for our nation’s blood component users. We have seen a limited number of transmission of serious pathogens such as hepatitis C, “HCV” in our nation. The limited number of transmissions should make us all the more vigilant rather than comfortable in our success. For COTT, it has always been about multiple disease states, and diverse peoples and cultures representing those disease states, that was the future of COTT. We hold that original vision to remain sound in 2013 and central to the mission and work of the Committee of Ten Thousand.
Growing up with the hemophilia community, being the son of COTT Secretary Larry Allen, and having a disease that causes high chronic pain, gives Michael the advantage of bringing a different disease perspective while understanding the most relevant and important period in hemophilia, the 1970's to the present. Our hope and certainty is that this new diverse infusion will further strengthen our ability to advocate and represent those communities dependent on our nation’s blood supply, including both as always, not limited to, the HIV/AIDS and HCV infected hemophilia community our original and first constituency. ￼￼
The entire Board of Directors expresses its heartfelt love and deep respect for Dave Cavanaugh and all he has accomplished for our community and others. We wish him the best and send him off with a fraternal and maternal love and respect. We also wish the best for Michael Allen in his new endeavor with COTT and our ability to collectively attain the original vision articulated by COTT’s founders.