It is with great sadness that the family of Candace Pert announces her death on September 12, 2013, suddenly and unexpectedly, while at her home in Maryland. Candace’s warmth and compassion, her laughter, authenticity, just the way she could light up a room and touch all in it will be forever missed, but forever remembered by anyone who had the fortune to meet her in person or read her books.
She brilliantly shared her scientific research in a form that is readily understandable and engaging for non-scientists via lectures worldwide, documentaries, films, CDs, and in her books, “Molecules of Emotion: The Scientific Basis Behind Mind-Body Medicine ” and Hay House publication, “Everything You Need to Feel Go(o)d”.
She taught us how the BodyMind functions as a single psychosomatic network of informational molecules which deeply influence our health and happiness and, in a way that includes yet transcends left-brained scientific inquiry, she guides us in how to utilize this knowledge to enhance our lives with spiritual and emotional paths to healing. She welcomed all spiritual practice into her life, and she loved all people.
Many of you know Candace had dedicated herself to creating new drugs for serious illnesses. She was after all first trained as a Pharmacologist. Over twenty-five years ago Candace had an inspiration, or a vision as it is described in her first book, for how to make a drug for HIV/AIDS, that at the time was not controlled, and was destroying the lives of many.
She has spent the last 28 years pursuing research to create a non-toxic treatment and a vaccine for HIV/AIDS.
It would honor her and this work that she believed in so much that donations be sent to the “Candace B. Pert Fund for HIV Research” at Whitman-Walker Health, 1701 14th Street NW, which is the Washington DC community health center specializing in HIV/AIDS care and research, where she conducted some of her clinical research so that others can continue to make advances and discoveries to eliminate AIDS in the world, a big unfinished quest of hers.
MEMORIAL SERVICE will be 27 October 10:00 AM. Historic Jewish Synagogue, Sixth & I, Washington, DC. Please note the following road closures.
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I am grateful for Candace’s ability to encourage unbelievable ideas: finding specific peptides to understand emotions and the usefulness of or not, of drugs. Her interpretations of the feel good peptides moved many to understand functioning of bliss.
Candace thank-you, for all you did to make your dreams a reality. Thank you for following your intuition and enhancing the potential for the human to steer him or herself, with knowledge guiding the way.
Inspirational to woman everywhere as to her drive to know, to not bend to old beliefs, to find the new and to reflect as she could this “vibration.” By following her intuition she made things happen, embracing life long curiosity as she embraced the earth in her death.
She returned to nature as all of us will. Candace is energetically surrounding us now with her vision of how bliss; thereby, pushing each of us forward.
In 1986, 27 short years ago a small group of family therapists gathered at Georgetown University. My boss, Murray Bowen, M.D. had been the first head of the family research group on Schizophrenia at NIMH between1956-1960. As the only female chief and head of Brain Biochemistry of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch, Candace came to give this serious group her view of an evolutionary based science of human behavior.
Candace walked in dressed in an orange jumpsuit. The crowd stirred. A new vibration had arrived. Someone had violated the dress code. Dr. Bowen was not happy about either the new vibration or the possible dress code violation.
But Candace was untouched by the waves of uncertainty and seemed to deeply enjoy her ability to provoke, to make people pay attention to something that was beyond expectations and deeply emotional. She knew that we are constrained and uplifted and sometimes controlled by social relationships and the emotions they provoke.
That night, as always, she challenged us to see that the intellect was a reflection of our feelings and deep emotions. The intellect was not uncontaminated. But knowledge might still free us to be capable of altering our behavior thereby enhancing the chances of our survival.
When she showed a simple slide of Darwin’s book, Emotions in Man and Animals. Dr. Bowen settled down and said she was right on, and the dress code violation was momentarily forgotten.
Afterwards I want up to Candace and talked about my AIDS project at the Whitman Walker Clinic. I was a nobody, another worker in the trenches. But she listened to my explanation of the shockwave that went through families when people with AIDS had the “guts” to go back home and tell their mothers and fathers that they were HIV positive. This requires GUTS as you have to over come years of distance or even cut off over the generations. Not easy for anyone.
Back then there was no AZT. Individuals had 18 months to live once the T cells dropped below 300. The number of AIDS patients had risen 270% just from 1984. Social panic was everywhere, increasing scapegoating and polarization. If anyone knew you were HIV positive or even if you saw people in your office who were HIV positive, you might be shunned, and with good reason: we were not sure how the virus was transmitted.
Candace was excited and wanted me to come out to NIMH and meet Michael Ruff, her about to be husband. Listening to them talk about the possible discovery of strings of peptides that might blocked the entry of the HIV virus was thrilling. Afterwards Candace told me that for every step forward there were two steps backwards. Resistance was real.
She and Mike worked on testing Peptide T, which was similar in structure to the VIP hormone found mostly in the gut. I thought their work could explain how “gutsy” behavior that I saw in the HIV positive individuals was strengthening the immune system itself.
Candace gave me courage to present my findings at an NIMH meeting, where I won an award only to be told that my research was interesting but correlative and not causal.
Due to the short life of VIP there was no way to see if there was an increase of it in the gut as a function of people being gutsy and compassionate in relationships.
Both Candace and Mike supported the AIDS community and those of us working with families. They drove through a major snowstorm in March of 1993, to once again present their newest research to an even smaller band of family therapists. Candace laughed about how even the weather was conspiring to prevent new knowledge from emerging.
One of the beauties of Candace is that she never gave up on wild and unproven ideas, she followed her own intuition to the end.
One of the most curious people I have ever known, Candace wanted to know everything that you knew. She would ask questions, nod and in some magical way, assimilate it all into her grand plan to reduce suffering and diminish pain.
At our last lunch she wanted me to meet her friend Deb Stokes, saying we would learn from each other. She wanted to learn all about the energy in the brain when people do neurofeedback.
Arriving, slightly late, she announced that the goodness helped her find a good parking space , entertaining all. My last good deed for Candace was to put a few quarters in the parking meter so she could stay a bit longer.
Candace changes us , provokes us – care to love, to solve really difficult problems and to deeply believe in your vision, what ever it is.
Candace is as alive today as yesterday. She will remain a woman who gave other woman a chance, who gave all who came to know her – the love – the hugs, and the optimism to do the impossible. I am grateful…