Here is something that we, as a community, need to get out and organize: an annual "Walk to Fight Aging" event. Charitable walks to benefit medical research or fund pro-research non-profit organizations are common: Walk for the Cure, Walk to Cure Juvenile Diabetes, and the AIDS Walk are just a few of the many. It's a concept that's well understood and welcomed by the public.
Part of the public perception problem relating to scientific anti-aging research is that popular culture, the mass media and the public at large do not yet recognize aging as a medical condition that can be cured and treated. They have either been convinced that only frauds and charlatans claim to be able to treat aging, or are convinced that aging is "natural" and therefore set in stone. Running a Walk to Fight Aging will go a long way to curing this problem: in the public eye, charitable walks are associated with curing medical conditions. These events are a wonderful and effective way to raise awareness for any given cause.
Then there is also the matter of money raised: I would direct the donations resulting from a Walk to Fight Aging to the Methuselah Mouse Prize for anti-aging research. Money that will invigorate and encourage scientists to extend healthy life span is money well invested!
I first mentioned the Walk to Fight Aging as an idea last October in a past issue of the Longevity Meme Newsletter to see what people thought of it. I received a positive response: it's a good idea, it has merit, and people are willing to take part. The Walk to Fight Aging is very much on my to-do list, but 2004 is a terrible year for me to be undertaking any major new projects. I have my hands too full to do this concept the justice it deserves.
It is a truism that every successful cause starts with a dedicated person pushing it to completion. If no-one beats me to it, I will be that person for the Walk to Fight Aging - but I would certainly welcome a serious attempt to beat me to it! The sooner that a viable, successful Walk to Fight Aging event is organized, the better. For my part, I will pitch in to the best of my ability to help whoever is best placed and most capable to get this done.