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Kulakovich Family

Bret, Sarah, Molly and Ada


Members since 2005
By Deborah Johnson

Bret Kulakovich in his office.

A round 9:45 p.m. on a clear summer


evening near Cape Cod, Massachusetts,
3-year old Molly takes her dad’s hand and
be 100 years old in January, was a lacemaker.
Growing up, history was in every nook and
cranny of the home her family has lived in for
walks out into the yard. They stand together, five generations. Sarah says fondly, “Our home
gazing up at the night sky. A few minutes later, was like a moment in history and it was all
a bright dot in the sky is spotted. Molly’s dad around me everyday.”
points to it and, for the first time, Molly sees As an artist and graphic designer, she carries
the International Space Station as it silently that deep sense of mankind’s history into her
glides overhead in its orbit above Earth. work. “This non-verbal communication keeps
Molly also likes to help her dad work on me in tune with the human spirit,” she says.
their 7-foot satellite dish so they can watch Bret, who co-founded bonfireproductions.com
NASA channels, Russian channels and even with Sarah, shares her love of visual arts, and an
Arabic channels. And, on the night when interest to move toward more scientific, grant-
Bret & Sarah, May 2005 the rain and temperature conditions are just driven work.
right, they quietly walk down their country With a BFA in Photographic and Elec-
road together, so they can watch the salaman- tronic Imaging from the University of Mas-
ders awaken from their winter rest, cross the sachusetts at Dartmouth, he has applied his
road and move off toward their springtime multimedia skills to educational projects, such
activities. as the National Science Foundation’s Simula-
This is the kind of rich and rewarding tions for Calculus Learning (SimCalc), and
life the Kulakovich’s are looking forward to works with faculty at a Boston liberal arts
for many, many, many more years. That’s why college to realize media projects for education.
all the Kulakovich’s—Bret, his wife Sarah, 3- His website, www.bretorium.com, showcases
year old Molly, and 1-year old Ada—joined his many talents. Bret is currently completing
Alcor. his masters in Media Production at Emerson
“Cryonics brings more to life than first College.
meets the eye,” says Sarah. “I view it as a part The couple’s artistic and insightful dis-
of the journey. It makes me feel more con- positions are reflected in their decision to join
nected to history and the whole, long journey Alcor. Sarah says thoughtfully, “Our Alcor
of man.” membership has shifted time for me and added
Being connected to history comes natu- an entirely new dimension. I may be able to
rally to Sarah, who was born in a tiny hamlet extend time to do new things, like take writing
in Bourton, Wiltshire, England. Their hamlet courses and go back and get an entirely differ-
had no store or post office and everyone lived ent college degree.”
off the land. Her grandmother, who will

4 Cryonics/Summer 2006 www.alcor.org


Sarah & Bret,
wedding photo, May 2000.

Bret, her husband of 6 years, shares her her about cryonics, she says, “It was instantly Bret remarks. “Maybe it will work and maybe it
enthusiasm for extended life, saying, “I would obvious to me that it would work and it had won’t, but it is possible. And it’s more and more
enjoy seeing some measure of space exploration validity.” Since then, she has supplemented probable as time goes on.” For those who doubt
achieved. And exploration of the bottoms of the that first grasp of the concept with more it could ever work, Bret says that time is on his
ocean.” He continues, “I think we are poised information and study. side. “If there’s only a 1 percent chance of cry-
to reach a new level of understanding in physics Bret’s connection to cryonics was much onics working today, then at some time in the
and the brain. It would be good to actually see earlier. He read science fiction as a young boy, future it will be 2 percent. And so on.”
that.” and then in the early 1990’s, he discovered It’s one of the concepts Bret introduces when
This idea of more time, plus an optimistic extropy (the theory that cultural and tech- he talks to others about cryonics. “I don’t want
view for the future are part of the reason they nological development will expand indefi- to be seen as eccentric or extravagant. I don’t
chose to include Molly and Ada in their plans nitely and in an orderly, progressive manner evangelize,” he notes. So, he crafts his thoughts
for cryopreservation. “We believe this is a gift to throughout the universe). and insights about cryonics to meet the interests
them,” says Sarah in her peaceful, soft-spoken During his college years at the Univer- and needs of the people with whom he speaks.
manner. “And if they want to change their sity of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, where he Sarah, who is passionate but reserved, says, “So
minds later on, that’s fine.” was studying design and astrophysics, he hap- many people have only heard about the surface
Sarah’s first exposure to cryonics was pened across a magazine with an article about of cryonics and they miss the richness.” It is this
through Bret, but, interestingly, she already had Alcor. “I had heard about cryonics, but this thoughtful and respectful approach to others that
a family connection. Her father was a student was the first time I realized someone was actu- is helping steadily spread the word about cryon-
of Marvin Minsky. Dr. Minsky was one of the ally doing it and they (Alcor) had patients at ics and Alcor.
pioneers of artificial intelligence and is a scien- their facility.” You can contact Bret and Sarah Kulakovich
tific advisor to Alcor. When Bret first talked to “I like people saying things are possible,” at: kulakovich_family@bonfireproductions.com.

left to right: Bret and daughter Molly; Ada and Molly enjoy a day at home; Sarah and daughter Ada

www.alcor.org Cryonics/Summer 2006 5


Rafal Smigrodzki, M.D., Ph.D.
Member since 2002
By Deborah Johnson

Karen, Nymeria and Rafal Smigrodzki

F rom the time he was nine years old, Rafal


Smigrodzki was interested in cryonics. As
a young boy growing up in southern Poland,
As a physician he enjoys working directly with
patients. “I like having a direct impact on peo-
ple. They are grateful if you do something good
his imagination was captured by a Polish sci- for them.”
ence fiction story. Translated as The Thresh- Rafal’s real passion, however, is the work
old of Immortality, it tells of a writer who he does in the solitude of the lab, focusing on
has been “uploaded” into a pseudo biologi- the development of an effective treatment for
cal substrate. Although this particular story diseases caused by damage to mitochondrial
ended badly—with superstitious peasants DNA. Mitochondria are the power plants of
burning down the lab—Rafal knew then that the cell and contain a part the body’s genetic
science could have answers to living beyond material. “When mitochondrial DNA is cor-
the expected number of years. rupted, it may produce diseases whose symp-
“By the time I first learned what cryon- toms include epilepsy, diabetes, loss of memory
ics was and heard the urban legends of Walt and early death. These are quite horrible dis-
Disney being frozen, I was already hooked,” eases and right now are untreatable,” comments
says Rafal. Rafal.
Raised in the industrial town of Piekary His work focuses on developing methods
Slaskie (pop. 70,000), he was always interest- of intracellular delivery of mitochondrial DNA
ed in science, possibly inheriting it from his for therapeutic purposes. His voice exudes pas-
father, who was a doctor. “It was an enduring sion as he talks about the possibilities of the
interest of mine,” says Rafal. “For me it is a research. “It’s the most exciting thing you can
way of thinking.” imagine.”
That way of thinking eventually led Ra- In fact, he is so committed to the outcome
fal to the United States, where he is both a that for the first two years he devoted his time
practicing clinician in neurology and the chief to the company with no compensation. Fortu-
clinical officer for a private biotech company. nately, a recent grant from the National Insti-

6 Cryonics/Summer 2006 www.alcor.org


Smigrodzkis’ Virginia home

tutes of Health will provide a salary along with His hope is that in 15 years, the research
funds for the research. he is involved in will have an impact on the
It is only natural that Rafal would be in- common diseases of aging and be beneficial to
volved in leading-edge research. His list of cre- many people. He also hopes to “surf the wave
dentials includes: a medical degree in Poland, of progress,” where science and medicine are
an M.D.- Ph.D. from Heidelberg University in continually coming up with treatments for
Germany, a post-doctoral fellowship in the De- aging and therefore extending life spans out
partment of Neurobiology at the University of in front of him.
Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, a neu- But according to Rafal, if the progress
rology residency at the University of Pittsburg is not fast enough, then a cryopreservation
Medical Center, and a movement disorders fel- through Alcor is his “Plan B.” He is realistic
lowship at the University of Virginia in Charlot- in his outlook and says it is smart to “hope for
tesville. the best and prepare for the worst.”
Rafal’s keenness for mitochondrial DNA Either way, he sees human life as having
research merges nicely with his long-held inter- no limits. Rafal believes those who would be Karen and daughter Nymeria
est in extending his life. “If we can treat mito- inclined to reverse a cryopreservation and re-
chondrial disease, then we can also address the vive him would be honest and caring people. forward to spending time with my family right
mitochondrial aspects of aging, of the decaying He assumes that by the time his cryopreserva- now,” he says.
of cells,” he remarks. tion is reversed, science would have conquered In his rare spare time, Rafal enjoys computer
aging and he would have the opportunity to games like “World of Warcraft,” which is a multi-
be restored to health and youth. player online game with 5 million players. As a
When asked what he would do, waking counterpoint to intellectual endeavors, he likes
up in the future, he is quick to reply, “Imagine working with his hands. Plans for home renova-
waking up, surrounded by nice people, and tions include new windows, a carport and stone
you’re young and healthy and, through a per- facing on the foundation of their home in Vir-
petual trust I hope to be able to establish I ginia.
would have sufficient financial means.” With Like most Alcor members, Rafal hopes to
laughter in his voice he adds, “I would find share his limitless future with his family. He and
something to do.” his wife, Karen, have discussed membership for
Rafal is a pioneer for the future but, for the entire family. “I think signing up with Alcor
today, he is happy with a pretty normal ex- is the reasonable thing to do for everyone who
istence at home. He is married with a new values life. It is based on sound scientific prin-
daughter, Nymeria, with whom he hasn’t had ciples and it is based on hope,” he says. “I’m op-
much time, due to his work. “I don’t know timistic; I have faith in the future.”
too much about being a dad, since I had to be You can contact Rafal Smigrodzki at:
away from home temporarily during the last rafal@smigrodzki.org. ■
year doing clinical work. I am really looking

Rafal and dogs Bart and Azor

www.alcor.org Cryonics/Summer 2006 7


Anthony Waller
Member since 2003
By Deborah Johnson

Anthony overlooking his home town of Monaco

T here aren’t too many people who would


think of Beirut fondly for its golf courses
and beaches. But then there aren’t too many
It is probably this unconventional upbring-
ing, along with an early passion for filmmaking
that eventually led him full speed into his career
people who grew up in the Middle East, went as a writer and director. Among Anthony’s cred-
to boarding school in England, have received its are “An American Werewolf in Paris,” starring
a personal phone call from Steven Spielberg, Tom Everett Scott, and “The Guilty,” starring
and call Monaco home. Bill Pullman and “Mute Witness,” with a guest
Anthony Waller is—to say the least—an appearance by Sir Alec Guinness. His current
interesting and unconventional person. “I am project is in production in Namibia and Hun-
definitely British for many generations back,” gary, starring Adrian Paul (of the “Highlander”
says Anthony in his proper British accent. series), Melissa George, and Nick Nolte.
“But 80 percent of my life I’ve lived outside At age 11, Anthony knew he wanted to
of England, including Beirut; Kuwait; Ger- make movies. His first effort was a 3-minute
many; Venice Beach, California; Holland; cartoon that took him 10 months to create.
and South Africa. For the past 17 years I’ve “I was tenacious, even then,” he comments.
lived in Monaco.” “Imagine an 11-year old boy working on some-
Anthony considers himself a citizen of thing for 10 months.” His novice movie mak-
the world, rather than just of England. Af- ing continued in boarding school in England.
ter many years of living abroad, he feels he His first break came from a classmate’s fa-
has a different view of the world than many ther, renowned producer David Puttnam. At a
people. “I feel like the whole world belongs school event, Lord Puttnam saw one of Antho-
to me, not just one country, and if everybody ny’s films and was captivated by its quality. “He
felt like that, we would all be richer.” Because came up to me and told me that he would be
he understands first-hand what it’s like to be proud to have made that film. It wasn’t until
the foreigner, he is extremely tolerant of all later that I learned he was a famous producer,
Anthony in front of the rocket that would carry
races and cultures. “The only thing I can’t tol- soon to become head of Columbia Pictures.”
Dennis Tito into the history books as the first space
tourist. April 26th 2001, Baikonur, Kazakhstan erate, is intolerance itself ”. He adds: “I dislike Lord Puttnam was also chairman of the
borders, yet I like differences.” National Film School and suggested that An-
thony attend—as the youngest student ever.

8 Cryonics/Summer 2006 www.alcor.org


Anthony shooting in Munich’s Arriflex
studios, 1987

During his studies there, he was picked by John next day before his return flight to the UK,” It’s really not much of a stretch to imagine
Schlesinger to receive the Shakespeare Scholar- says Anthony remembering that pivotal mo- that someone with Anthony’s expanded world-
ship in 1981 for a further year of study at the ment. “I didn’t have a crew or even the script, view would find the idea of cryonics instantly
Munich Film School in Germany. There he and didn’t even live in Hamburg myself, but appealing. In 2002, an ex-girlfriend who was
went on to work as a celebrated editor of TV somehow overnight I pulled it together and making a TV documentary on cryonics took
movies and commercials. we filmed with Sir Alec the next morning.” him to the Alcor conference in Newport Beach.
But his heart was in directing and he was Although it took eight years before An- “Amongst others, I met and listened to Ray Kurz-
determined to make it happen. So, he saved up thony had saved up enough to resume shoot- weil and Greg Fahy and was completely fascinat-
enough money to finance the production of ing—subsequently setting the story in Rus- ed.” He started the membership process right
two music videos for two unknown bands (who sia—he says it paid off—and Sir Alec related away and completed it the following year. In his
both subsequently received record contracts). the experience in his memoirs, “Diary of a Re- future movie projects he would like to find ways
Anthony exploded onto the scene and became tired Actor,” after the movie was released. In- of incorporating his newfound interests in cryon-
one of the most sought-after directors of com- terest from Hollywood immediately followed. ics and related subjects into his movies in a more
mercials in Germany. “I didn’t believe it at first when I heard ‘Steven positive light than they are currently treated in
In 1984, he began realizing his goal of Spielberg is on the line.’ It’s what every first- mainstream cinema.
working in feature films by financing, writing, time director in the world yearns to hear.” “I see Alcor and cryonics as a last resort; a
producing and directing “Mute Witness”, about Two years later, he was directing “An ‘life-boat’ that I hope I will never have to need.”
a young, mute make-up artist who witnesses American Werewolf in Paris.” And three years Anthony comments, “I want to stay alive and
the making of a “snuff movie”. “I met Sir Alec after that “The Guilty” with Bill Pullman. Al- healthy for as long as possible.” Like many cry-
Guinness one evening in Hamburg, Germany, though he was a hot property at that point, onicists, he’s hoping that science and medicine
and somehow talked him into a brief cameo role Anthony wasn’t interested in settling for just will solve the challenges of aging while he’s still
in this film and he agreed to shoot the scene the anything that came along. “I had all kinds of vital, making cryopreservation unnecessary.
offers to do slasher and gore films, but frankly Right now, he wants to live life to the full-
I didn’t want to get pigeon-holed.” est. “There really is no point in living if you’re
So, the Hollywood roller-coaster ride only going to vegetate in front of the TV,” says
cooled down. But his youthful tenacity con- Anthony. As he looks into the future, he hopes to
tinued to serve him well. The next five years see the further exploration of outer space as well
he spent developing movies that are close to as the oceans on earth. “There’s so much possible
his heart, including a dramatization of the in the future. I’d like to experience the interface
space race of the 60’s told from the Russian between the human brain and computer technol-
perspective. Anthony describes his current ogy,” he says. “Imagine if we could link telepathi-
film “Nine Miles Down” as a spine-chilling cally with something like a bird and actually ex-
journey into the psyche of a man struggling perience flight from the bird’s perspective.”
to escape his tortured past. He comments, “It With Anthony’s creative drive, this may be
pits science versus superstition, where, for a his next movie idea and, with a little luck, a part
change, the popular yet irrational demonizing of the future for all of us.
of science is shown to have tragic consequenc- You can contact Anthony Waller at
es.” For a sneak preview on what to expect, walleranthony@mac.com. ■
Anthony & Sir Alec Guinness
one can view the project’s website at: www.
ninemilesdown.com

www.alcor.org Cryonics/Summer 2006 9


Member Profile: Chana de Wolf
By Deborah Johnson

“I t all comes down to providing patients


with the best cryopreservation possi-
ble,” says Chana de Wolf, Alcor’s research
associate since September 2006, who joined
as a member of the organization in February
2007. Chana is responsible for creating the
new cardiopulmonary bypass lab at Alcor, and
she appears to be the right person at the right
time. Her undergraduate, graduate and doc-
toral work has honed her research skills.
Her journey from the small East Texas
town of Athens to Alcor was an interesting
spiral, to say the least. In 1994, as young as
age 14, her love of science was apparent.
After her family moved from Athens to Waco,
she was placed into her high school’s gifted
and talented science program. Chana speaks
Photo by Murray Ballard.

of it fondly and says she relished the experi-


ence. “My teacher encouraged my explo-
ration of neuroscience in particular,” she
recalls. At only 14-years-old, she already had
a burgeoning interest in the brain, which was
nurtured through a long-term research project
for class.
The challenges of the project led her to
the then-neophyte Internet. That’s where
Chana managed to find a primitive bulletin
board system and connect with a scientist
who would become her mentor over the fol-
lowing years. “He was working on a new clin-
ical concept; penetrating the blood-brain bar-
rier via the olfactory route with agents that
could help prevent neurodegeneration,” com-
ments Chana. “He” turned out to be William
H. Frey II, the co-founder and director of the
St. Paul-Ramsey Alzheimer’s Research Center.
Not surprisingly, Chana’s 10th grade science
project – on monitoring the effectiveness of
intranasal administration of horseradish per-
oxidase (HRP) – won first prize.

8 Cryonics/Second Quarter 2007 www.alcor.org


The following year Chana was admitted By 2003 she had earned her master of
to the Texas Academy of Mathematics and science in cognition and neuroscience from
Science (TAMS), a prestigious early-entrance the University of Texas at Dallas, where she
residential college program for advanced worked in the Neurophysiology of Aging and
math and science students. There, she was Memory laboratory. There, she performed
able to connect with other students like her- single-cell electrophysiology of brain slices,
self and earn college credit for her advanced with a specific interest in determining how
studies. insulin receptors affect neuronal excitability in
But her experience at TAMS was short- the hippocampus, a structure important for
lived. After only a year, Chana left Texas and the consolidation of memories. Chana
was able to use her college credit to gain remarks, “I’m glad I took a sort of circuitous
admittance to Temple University in Philadel- route. I have learned a lot and feel that I have
phia. Upon completion of her junior year at a good background to pursue my interests
Temple, she returned to Texas to finish up her and to work here at Alcor.”
bachelor of science at the University of Chana balances her keen interest in sci-
North Texas, in Denton. ence with lighter endeavors, like flying kites.
“In the late 1990s universities knew She especially enjoys power-kiting and loves
about neuroscience – it was the ‘Decade of visiting windy beaches and flying out over the
the Brain’ – but there weren’t many programs water. And she’s also quite enamored of her
focused on it yet,” Chana comments. So she dogs – Darwin and Monkey. Darwin is a 5-
created her own curriculum. In 2001, she year-old Boston terrier and Monkey is a 3-
received her bachelor of science in experi- year-old pit bull. Chana and Aschwin de Wolf wed in an out-
Chana will now be sharing door ceremony on April 7, 2007.
her time with her new hus-
band, Aschwin de Wolf. They involved in cryonics as possible,” she says.
were married on April 7, “Being a member is the best way to remind
2007. Aschwin, previously an myself of the personal aspect of cryonics –
employee of Suspended Ani- that every other member and patient is a per-
mation, Inc., pulled up stakes son who wants the same thing I do – and to
in Florida and has joined convey that involvement to others.”
Chana, Darwin and Monkey Today, she is working toward creating a
in their home in Phoenix. sustainable research lab at Alcor. ”I want to
“Since we share a love of cry- establish a framework where basic, cryonics-
onics and met at the Alcor relevant research is performed at Alcor,”
conference, it’s only fitting Chana comments. Alcor’s research and devel-
that we brought an element of opment department is striving to increase vis-
that to our wedding,” Chana ibility and credibility. Chana knows from her
says. “David Pizer served as academic background that it’s imperative to
our officiant and Steve Van publish research findings in peer-reviewed
Chana with her poster presentation at the Society for Neuro- Sickle made liquid nitrogen publications. She hopes that after the car-
science conference in 2005. ice cream for all our guests at diopulmonary bypass lab is established, it will
the ceremony.” yield publishable results.
mental psychology with a minor in biology Chana first discovered cryonics and “I am so excited to be able to bring my
and honors thesis in cognitive neuroscience Alcor through her long-standing dedication to expertise in different fields to the research lab
(“Detection of symmetry in depth: Effects of protecting the right to control one’s own at Alcor,” she says. “There’s always room for
increasing skew angle”). “Experimental psy- body. While she has an interest in body mod- improvement.” 
chology was fascinating and really gave me a ification in general, her academic bent lead
good background in experimental design, but her to study the capabilities of technology to You can reach Chana at: chana@alcor.org
ultimately I found the focus on cognition, improve the quality of human life.
with little regard for biology or neuroanato- “Then I looked up Alcor,” Chana
my, too abstract for my tastes,” Chana remarks. “And I became interested in Alcor ___________________________________
explains. “Fortunately, by the time I was ready right away.” It didn’t take long for her to pur-
for graduate school, neuroscience programs sue membership with Alcor. “I think it is Email us if you’re interested in being profiled
were becoming commonplace.” important for a researcher in the field to be as for Cryonics magazine: info@alcor.org

www.alcor.org Cryonics/Second Quarter 2007 9


Member Profile:
Maria Entraigues
and Ruy Folguera
By Chana de Wolf

A s a child, Maria Entraigues would fly


with her parents to Spain each year to
visit her family. While there, she especially
liked watching performances by her uncle, a
well-known Spanish singer. Maria fondly
recalls attending his concerts, which nour-
ished her budding desire to become a per-
former herself. “My uncle encouraged me
early on,” she says. Later in life, as lead singer
for the house band at the Sheraton Hotel in
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Maria was already
beginning to live her dream. But that dream Maria at a music video shoot for the end
got a little bigger in 1991 when band audi- titles song she co-wrote with Ruy called
tions were held and she met Ruy Folguera, a “Free Our Love” for the film “The Magnificent
talented pianist who easily passed the trial. Ambersons,” which Ruy scored.
Maria and Ruy began dating shortly
thereafter, brought together by their love for As part of their careers as performers,
music. Ruy is the progeny of a long line of they often get to travel when a director asks
mathematicians and engineers, but he was them to compose the music while a film is
always most interested in music and film and being shot. Their next project, in which Maria
sought to be a composer. He was especially has acting and singing roles, takes them to
enamored with the combination of music and Romania to work on the movie Dare To Love
film, and remembers recording movie music Me, a musical directed by famous director
on tape as a young boy. Encouraged and Alfonso Arau about the life of Carlos Gardel.
inspired by one another, Maria and Ruy both “We work on movies together a lot,” says
applied for and received scholarships to Maria. “We’re lucky that way.” With a studio
attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, in their L.A. home and an endless supply of
where they lived from 1992 until 1995. Maria Hollywood productions seeking soundtracks,
is now a degreed voice performer, while Ruy it may seem like their luck will never run out.
earned degrees in commercial arranging and But Maria knows better. “Since I was a
film scoring, which refers to writing the back- child I have been obsessed with the fact that
ground music for a movie or other produc- we have to age, deteriorate, and die and that
tion. there’s still no way out of it.” This obsession
Since moving to their current residence drove her to zealously research anti-aging sub-
in Los Angeles, California, in 1995, Maria and jects in her spare time. “I always have my lit-
Ruy have continued to combine their talents tle laptop with me,” she says. “I keep reading
in such a way that allows them to work as much as I can on subjects related to life
together on many creative projects. Some- extension, medicine, biology, genetics, tran-
times Maria is even able to keep up her acting shumanism, and bio-nanotechnology. I think
chops with roles in movies such as the Woody I first read about Alcor ten years ago, but
Allen film Picking Up the Pieces, which Ruy somehow I thought it was only for very
scored. Most recently, Ruy did the electronic wealthy people and kind of a long shot any-
music and orchestrations for Rush Hour 3, way.”
while Maria worked as music direction assis- Then, around three years ago, Maria
tant. began reading about Dr. Aubrey de Grey and

10 Cryonics/Fourth Quarter 2007 www.alcor.org


Alcor member,” Maria
recalls. “I had no doubt
then.”
As a next step,
Maria and Ruy attended
the 2006 Alcor confer-
ence in Scottsdale, Ari-
zona. Having had such a
positive experience at
SENS, Maria was already
convinced that she
should sign up with
Alcor. Ruy was “hooked”
on the idea, but still
needed to hear more
about it. “Going to the
conference was perfect,” Maria in the Alcor patient care bay during her tour
Maria recalls. “We met of the facility at the 6th Alcor conference
Maria and Ruy at the premiere of the movie many members there
“Zapata.” Ruy scored the music for the and had the chance to
movie and Maria sang and co-wrote ask them questions. The presentations were ence, enabling her to work on humanity’s
songs for the soundtrack. very educational, and the tour of the [Alcor] biggest problems with her own hands.
facility was impressive. In a way we were able “Becoming an Alcor member has, in a way,
his plan for defeating aging called Strategies to see that this is real, and we left the confer- put me at ease in the sense that I am doing my
for Engineered Negligible Senescence ence really believing in it.” part towards helping something I really
(SENS). Realizing that she might be of help But that doesn’t mean they are totally believe in,” she reflects. “I feel special to be
in communicating his ideas, she offered her convinced that one day cryopreserved peo- part of an exclusive group of pioneers trying
services as a Spanish translator for his web- ple will be repaired to a healthy state. to achieve probably the biggest milestone in
site. While attending Dr. de Grey’s second “Nobody can guarantee that yet, but we the history of humanity.” 
SENS conference in Cambridge in 2005, really believe in the project, and we under-
Maria and Ruy met Dr. de Grey in person. “It stand that this is an option we have now. In Contact these members:
was there, while at dinner, he passionately reality, it is the only option we have now, Maria Entraigues: mariamaria@pacbell.net
explained to me why I should become an and even though the whole concept sounds Ruy Folguera: ruyfolguera@mac.com
farfetched to most people, it is plausible.”
The more Maria and Ruy informed them-
selves about the cryonics experiment, the
more reasonable it became to them. It was
a mere two months after the Alcor confer-
ence that Maria and Ruy formalized their
memberships with Alcor.
And their adventurous spirits don’t
stop there. Maria, who has fostered a life-
long fascination with astronomy and space
exploration, woke up one morning in the
not too distant past with a strong urge to
leave earth. “I have always wanted to go to
space,” she proclaims. Instead of becoming
an astronaut, she did the next best thing –
she learned to fly. Although many cryoni-
cists would tremble at the thought of tak-
ing up such a risky hobby, Maria feels that
pursuing her true happiness is one of the
most important aspects of being a life
extensionist. “What is the point of living a
long life if you don’t use that time to do
what you enjoy most?” she asks earnestly.
Maria and Ruy are licensed pilots and are Because of her interests, Maria some-
shown here flying their personal airplanes. times wishes she had dedicated her life to sci-

www.alcor.org Cryonics/Fourth Quarter 2007 11


Member Profile:
Wes Du Charme
By Chana de Wolf

W es Du Charme dedicated his early life


to understanding how people work
together. After obtaining a Ph.D. in
and six months devoted to writing, Wes pub-
lished a book in 1995 called Becoming Immortal:
Nanotechnology, You, and the Demise of Death
Experimental Psychology from the University about nanotechnology-driven possibilities for
of Michigan in 1969 he entered the field of extending life and resuscitating cryonics
industrial and organizational (I/O) psycholo- patients. Motivated by his desire to live a long
gy, which seeks to influence productivity and life and see the future and to obtain credibili-
satisfaction in the workplace by utilizing psy- ty as the author of a book about cryonics,
chological theories and research methods. It Wes joined the cryonics experiment as an
was with the logical mindset required of such Alcor member that same year.
an occupation that Wes first read K. Eric I/O psychologists are by definition inter-
Drexler’s book, Engines of Creation, in 1990. ested in organizational or group behavior, and
Though he had heard of cryonics before, he Wes’s concerns about the future of cryonics
had never seriously considered it for more leave no question that he is intensely interest-
than a few moments. Confronted with ed in the underlying psychological issues sur-
Drexler’s evidence for the inevitability of rounding the subject. He wonders, why do
human manipulation of matter at the molec- some see so clearly, and thus feel so passion-
ular scale, Wes recalls that, “suddenly, cryon- ately, the need for cryonics while others so
ics made sense.” easily dismiss it? Worse still, why do so few
And suddenly, Wes was on a mission. As people accept rational arguments in favor of
a researcher and writer who had “always been cryonics? “Obviously,” Wes declares, “we
interested in what the future will hold,” Wes would all be safer if cryonics were more pop-
embarked on a quest to inform himself and ular. We are all more at risk because the idea is
others of the possibilities for dramatically not well known and is not well accepted.
extended lifespan. After extensive investiga- There are many ways things can go astray
tion into both nanotechnology and cryonics, even in the best of circumstances.”

Wes jokingly regards the cold Idaho


winters as a cryonics training program.

Wes with his wife, Ida, who is also an Alcor member.

www.alcor.org Cryonics/First Quarter 2008 3


The answer to this problem: member-
ship growth. “I think significantly increasing
our membership is the key to almost every-
thing else. More members would translate
into more dollars, which would allow us to
develop along many fronts including publici-
ty, marketing, lobbying, and research. Now, if
I only knew how to increase membership….”
By his own admission, his efforts at
recruiting more Alcor members, even after
having written a book on the subject, have
been less than stellar. “I was already married
by the time I first learned about cryonics, and
my wife became interested through me.”
Unfortunately, other than his wife Ida, none
of his friends or family have become mem-
bers, keeping a safe distance in the camp of
the “generally supportive.” Wes feels that
Alcor should devote more of its energy and Wes sharing time with his mother and wife.
resources toward marketing to encourage
growth because “a larger organization has
more clout, more resources, and more Perhaps his most ambitious pastime over lifestyle might add significantly more than
options for its members.” the past three years has been running a web- just a few months or years to my lifespan.” By
Now retired from his job in academia, site designed to help other retirees find inter- doing what he can to extend healthy lifespan
his leisure activities include reading, keeping esting new leisure activities. The site uses now, Wes hopes to take advantage of medical
up with nanotechnological developments, questionnaire/profile matching to direct cus- advances that will significantly improve that
and playing tennis several times a week. He tomers to the most appropriate leisure activi- capability in the future. Speaking most fond-
also serves on committees in the small town ties from a database of over 1200 activities ly of his favorite hobby, singing in a barber-
of Rathdrum, Idaho, and is currently presi- (decisiontimetools.com). His background in shop group, Wes chuckles, “We always say
dent of “Friends of Rathdrum Mountain,” a psychology and interest in cryonics have that barbershoppers live, on average, seven
conservation group in the area. taught him that “living a healthy, happy years longer than the rest of the population.
I’m not sure that’s true, but I’ll take every bit
of help I can get!” 
“We always say that barbershoppers live, on average,
seven years longer than Wes can be contacted at:
wesducharme@roadrunner.com
the rest of the population.”

Wes (second from left) prepares to deliver a singing valentine with his barber shop quartet.

4 Cryonics/First Quarter 2008 www.alcor.org


Member Profile:
Stephane and Magali
Beauregard
By Chana de Wolf

“The future belongs to those who believe


In 2005, the Beauregards enjoyed the Christmas holiday
in scenic Auberge du Lac Taureau (Quebec)
in the beauty of their dreams!”

I f you spend any time perusing the Alcor


United web forums, you will undoubtedly
run into posts by Magali and Stephane
extraordinary love and care of his paternal
grandparents and an early education in the
value of money gained as a newspaper street
enough, Stephane first learned of cryonics
in a public restroom in France, where in
1993 he discovered a magazine article about
Beauregard, who always end their correspon- peddler from the age of thirteen. With temper- Alcor. “I was very captivated but I hadn’t
dence with the above quote. Such a bold and atures ranging from 30ºC (86ºF) in summer to any pen and paper on me to note the
hopeful statement instantaneously paints a -35ºC (-31ºF) in winter, Stephane rose at 5:00 address and phone number,” he recalls. “So
picture of two eager, forward-looking people in the morning, seven days a week, before I wanted to remember [the name] of Alcor
– the kind of people whose dreams of the going to school. Later on, after a few different in Scottsdale.” Many years later, he and
future are uplifting, if idealistic...the type of jobs in the adult working world, Stephane Magali were at home watching Vanilla Sky
people who are always willing to share the decided to create his own import/export busi- and Forever Young – two movies that talk a
beauty of their dreams with others and who ness of collectible music items. little about cryonics, which reminded
continually strive to bring their hazy, beautiful It was on a trip to France for a conven- Stephane of Alcor. He and Magali then
dreams into sharper focus. tion that he met Magali. “I had to buy a return found the Alcor website, which they found
And that picture would be accurate. ticket for Montreal and she worked in the so interesting that they decided to contact
Magali, a native of Amboise, France, credits travel agency,” says Stephane. After communi- Jennifer Chapman to learn more about
her supportive parents and maternal grandpar- cating by email and phone, they decided to Alcor membership.
ents, as well as a traditional education, with take a trip to Reunion and Mauritius Islands in In 2005, Magali and Stephane traveled to
instilling the values that she now finds useful in the Indian Ocean to get to know each other Scottsdale to tour the Alcor facility and
her life. In high school, Magali began having better. Though Stephane was 32 years old and
horrible headaches. An MRI scan revealed a unsure about the idea of “true love,” as
hypophyseal tumor that was so large the doc- Magali walked in front of him one day he
tors recommended immediate surgical found himself wondering if perhaps she
removal. Eventually, after two operations, two might be the woman for him. Throughout the
radiotherapy treatments, and a long course of remainder of the trip they developed such
medication, the tumor was stabilized. Rather respect for one another that Stephane knew
than dwell on the negative, though, Magali the answer. Several weeks later, he decided to
prefers to recall that, in 2001, she met “the prove his love and sincerity by moving to
person who would become my best friend and France to be with Magali. Consequently, they
the man of my life: Stephane.” were engaged in 2002 at the top of the Eiffel
Stephane grew up in LaSalle, Quebec, the Tower and married in 2003 at Beauregard
French province of Canada. At age eleven, his Castle – a series of events that Stephane
parents divorced and were thereafter not regards as very much “like a fairy tale.”
always present in his life. Instead, he attributes So how did this fairy tale couple This happy couple wed five years ago at
Beauregard Castle in France (August 2003)
the shaping of his mind and personality to the become involved in cryonics? Strangely

14 Cryonics/Second Quarter 2008 www.alcor.org


finalize their membership applications. They lack of notoriety and, as a result, a want of
reasoned that cryonics is their “only chance to members. Aside from the obvious challenge of
come back in the future” and that’s a chance reviving and rejuvenating its patients, they feel
they are willing to take. Like most cryonicists, that the next most important goal for Alcor is
Stephane and Magali express a deep love of to grow a more substantial membership base.
living and feel that life as we know it today is To that end, Stephane and Magali do their best
too short to realize all their dreams and ambi- to increase positive awareness of cryonics.
tions. Furthermore, they both feel that the Today they work together in publicity, having
hope of seeing each other again and contin- created a phone directory in the area where
uing their journey together will lessen the pain they live. Stephane reports that in this line of
of losing one’s beloved life partner. This is a business, where they constantly interact with
psychological benefit that may be encouraging many different people, they are asked about
an increasing number of couples and families their Alcor bracelets every day. “So we explain
to join Alcor together. the truth and we take a few minutes to talk
about cryonics with them,” he says.
Because they feel that it is interesting and
important for cryonicists to know and learn
about one another, Stephane and Magali also Stephane steals a picture of Magali while
go out of their way to meet and stay in touch enjoying a nature walk in Quebec, where
with other Alcor members. They were very the pair was celebrating their
3rd wedding anniversary (2006).
happy to meet “extraordinary people of var-
ious countries” at the last two Alcor confer- Their vivacity is expressed through a
ences (2006 and 2007), but were disappointed number of other interests, as well. Magali likes
to learn that some Alcor members find it too to swim, take nature walks, make videos and
difficult to keep in contact afterward. photos, and draw. Stephane enjoys composing
Stephane and Magali traveled back to music, playing drums, and singing, as well as a
Scottsdale in March of 2008, where they were variety of physical activities including swim-
delighted to attend the monthly Phoenix ming, walking, diving and skating. Having
Cryonics Meetup. For Stephane, such meet- already visited more than thirty countries
ings are a “great opportunity to talk about cry- together, Magali and Stephane also maintain
onics and meet other Alcor members.” an active travel itinerary and visited Japan for
Being Francophones themselves, Magali their 5th anniversary in August 2008, where we
and Stephane understand the necessity of know they continued to engage others in pos-
Magali and Stephane pose with Alcor publishing information in a variety of lan-
membership coordinator Diane Cremeens itive dialog about cryonics! I
guages. Thanks to their recent efforts in
in the Alcor patient care bay.
securing translations of Alcor documents, Contact Stephane and Magali Beauregard:
Stephane reports that “now French speakers alcor.2197@gmail.com
Of course, Magali and Stephane have big around the world will be able to find informa-
dreams for Alcor, too. They envision an Alcor tion about cryonics directly on the Alcor web-
with offices in all the big cities of the world, site.” Taking it a step further, they also antici-
with a team of researchers presenting ground- pate acting as volunteers to communicate with
breaking scientific findings at medical and French-speaking prospective members and to
technology conferences, and a better-devel- write articles about cryonics in order to inform
oped marketing department that will attract others and find new members.
more publicity and sponsorship. More imme- Stephane and Magali’s enthusiasm for
diately, they would like to see Alcor automate cryonics is so apparent that even their friends
the membership sign-up process and payment and parents are infected by it. In fact,
functions online and to investigate newly- Stephane’s mother and some friends are
developed global satellite messenger systems beginning the application process because of
as a means of alerting Alcor to member their sincere efforts. Stephane affirms that by
health emergencies. They are also interested talking openly about cryonics they set a good
in the feasibility of implementing a software example and are generally surprised by the
system that would allow cryonicists to upload positive reaction they receive from others. He
as much information about themselves as also notes that oftentimes the people they talk
possible in order to assist in stimulating mem- to “did not know that this alternative exists.”
ories and personalities upon resuscitation. It is this zeal for introducing others to their
Stephane and Magali celebrated their
Beautiful dreams aside, Magali and options, and the possibilities of the future,
5th wedding anniversary in Kyoto, Japan
Stephane realize that cryonics suffers from a that drives Magali and Stephane.
in August 2008.

www.alcor.org Cryonics/Second Quarter 2008 15


Member Profile:
Richard Leis, Jr.
By Jerad Kaliher

Richard describes the HiRISE project


to a live audience. He is speaking with the

R ichard Leis, Jr. has his eyes fixed on space. His pursuit of science
has led him on a journey that is out of this world, Mars to be exact.
At 35 years old he works as an Operations Specialist at the HiRISE
public as high resolution imaging systems
are inserted into orbit.

Operations Center located at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The


project plans to take approximately 10,000 images of the surface of Mars
with hopes to obtain high resolution images twenty active members with an additional I couldn’t imagine undertaking much of it
of less than one percent of the planet’s sur- chapter in Phoenix, as well as over 100 partic- within an average lifespan.” This type of wide
face. The job demands detailed methodology ipants on Facebook. Through the club he met eyed wonder is what brought him to cryonics
and scrutiny of complex scientific data. He several employees of Alcor and toured the in the first place.
applied the same mindset to cryonics from facility for the first time in December 2007. Although his family has not expressed
the start. He was impressed with what he was shown. interest in membership, some of them have
As an adult Richard has been an active After extensive investigation, meeting been fascinated by his enthusiasm for the sub-
member of the transhumanist movement. He other Alcor members and touring the facility, ject. His passion for science, planetary sys-
is the Treasurer of the Immortality Institute, Richard was ready to become an Alcor tems and cryonics radiate from him. “After
whose mission is “to conquer the blight of member. Expense was the first concern that reading an article about the latest discovery I
involuntary death.” In 2006 he founded h+, came to mind. Yet he found how reasonable have the urge to tell everyone. Family and
or “humans plus,” a transhumanist club with and viable the costs could be with proper friends were often overwhelmed with the
roots in Tucson. Originally, he wanted to meet insurance coverage. He signed up on the spot. technical aspects of what I’d find.” So he
people who identified themselves as immor- Increasing Alcor membership is always found a more conventional way to share
talists. They began meeting for lunch once a on his mind. The best way, according to breakthroughs – he started a blog (www.fron-
week. That trend eventually developed into a Richard, is to bring people who have an tierchannel.com). Writing began as an outlet
journal club. The club has grown to include interest in cryonics together frequently and for factual news. His aspirations have grown
face-to-face. It’s what he was drawn to, the and he hopes to try his hand at fiction.
human element. To attract new members to One thing is sure; he needs all the time
his h+ club, the group has tried multiple that science can muster. Mapping Mars,
experiments to capture interest. Attempts finding life elsewhere in the universe and
include posters with taglines like, “Do YOU writing about it may sound ambitious. Good
want to DIE, neither do we.” They have thing Richard is well on his way. To him it was
elicited a wide range of responses, from a simple choice, oblivion or a chance to be
glaring eyes to outright anger and finally, brought back. “There is such wonder to
curiosity. It’s been one of his main challenges explore and experience, I’d just really hate to
when facing loved ones with the option of miss it.” I
cryonics. “People often dismiss you.” That
doesn’t deter him from spreading the word. Contact Richard Leis, Jr.: rleisjr@gmail.com
Richard enjoys visiting his family Richard’s wish is to extend what it is to
near the Oregon coast. Visit Richard’s Blog:www.frontierchannel.com
be human. “With a whole universe to explore,

16 Cryonics/Second Quarter 2008 www.alcor.org