Yes, you read that right: Mprize, $1 million donation, and I have it from Dave Gobel that the cashier's check just cleared today. Wow. This was somewhat out of the blue, and certainly far ahead of our expectations for progress in the rest of 2005!
Let me be one of the first to thank the anonymous donor for his or her generosity and for greatly raising the level of vindication experienced by the Mprize volunteers and other donors. This is a big step forward for efforts to vitalize serious scientific progress towards a cure for aging. There is a long way to go yet - and more seven figure donations, I hope - but thank you, anonymous donor, for pushing the best present day effort into the major leagues. From the press release draft (the final version should be out on the wires sometime following this post, and the Mprize website updated soon):
The anonymous $1 million donor cited a growing understanding of the real possibility of curing aging in our lifetimes as his reason for making such a tremendous investment. He first learned about de Grey's work from the popular press, even though most journalists take the easy path of characterizing de Grey - a respected, widely published figure in the scientific community - as an odd eccentric. The donor followed the Fight Aging! blog ( https://www.fightaging.org ) and the online newsletter of The Longevity Meme ( http://www.longevitymeme.org ), both advocates of de Grey's work and the Mprize in particular. In the Mprize, this donor saw a popular movement in the making, a movement of people who were not to be discouraged by the conservatism and lack of action in ivory tower gerontology. Every dollar in the prize fund represents a voice, calling for the scientific community to take the final steps towards real, working anti-aging medicine.
So, as many others have done, this anonymous donor realized that he could help the Mprize and thus help the fight against degenerative aging and age-related disease - medical conditions that claim more than 100,000 lives each and every day. So he sent a cashier's check to the address listed on the Mprize website - a check for $1 million.
I should extend thanks to our newest anonymous donor for increasing my personal levels of vindication as well. And once again, many thanks to everyone who has supported the Mprize over the past few years, building it to the level at which it can attract this sort of dedication from wealthy philanthropists.
As Mprize executive director Kevin Perrott said earlier, "Nothing is going to bother me today."
UPDATE: The press release is up at the MPrize site now.