Membership growth has slowed to a crawl. This is unfortunate because Alcor has reached a point where we could enjoy considerable economies of scale: We could manage many more members with minimal or no increase in staffing costs. That would enable us to reduce membership dues while building up our resources. A modest acceleration in membership growth would, I believe, move us into a virtuous circle where growth enables reductions in dues which further spurs membership growth.
The most effective way to bring in new members has been through direct encouragement by existing members. Many of us realize this, but may not make it a priority to nudge our friends a little more to sign up and potentially save their lives.
How can we spur more members to gently persuade those they care about to move ahead with making cryonics arrangements? Perhaps some financial incentive will help. At the April 6, 2013 board meeting, I proposed that anyone who is primarily responsible for getting a new member to sign up will, at their request, be given a one-year waiver of membership dues. The board approved this proposal.
For an existing member to receive the dues waiver, they must (a) be credited by the person who has signed up; (b) ask for the waiver; (c) not be otherwise profiting from the signup; (d) wait until the new member has completed all essential paperwork and has paid at least six months of dues. If the member signs up two new members, they are eligible for a two-year waiver of dues. If the new member is a student or family member, the existing member is eligible for a waiver of six months of dues.
Who do you know who could do with some encouraging to sign up? Please, give it some thought, then help yourself and help the organization by helping to stimulate membership growth.
On April 6, 2013 attorney Michael Seidl stepped down from the Alcor board of directors after a decade of distinguished service. Michael cited increased family obligations as the reason for stepping down, acknowledging that being an Alcor director is time-consuming and challenging. Although he has been a steadfast contributor and wise, balanced voice on the board in matters legal, financial, and strategic, he believes he cannot continue to put in the time he feels the position calls for.
The president and the board wish Michael well, and look forward to continuing to consult with him as an Advisor to the board, and perhaps welcome him back in the future if circumstances change.
At 99 years old, whole-body Alcor member A-2419 (confidential) became one of the oldest individuals to ever be cryopreserved, with only two other members being slightly older. Living in St. Louis, Missouri for his entire life, he served in the Army Air Force during WWII and was awarded two Bronze Service Stars.
For most people in their 90s, any serious health complication can be life threatening. Alcor closely monitored the health of this individual when he entered into a long-term care facility in 2009. Due to numerous bouts of pneumonia, hospitalization became a frequent and troubling concern for Alcor’s Deployment Committee in determining when a standby response might be needed. In September, 2011, Aaron Drake and Steve Graber of Alcor were deployed to St. Louis for a three day standby when physicians were gravely concerned over the member’s health. Fortunately, a strong recovery ensued and the standby was terminated.
On March 6th, 2013, as Alcor was in the middle of performing a cryopreservation of their 116th patient, we received a call from the member’s family that A-2419’s health was failing and they expected him to pass within the next week. After discussing the situation in more depth with medical providers in charge of our member’s care, Alcor’s Deployment Committee decided to send Suspended Animation to initiate a standby on the following day. After four days, the member succumbed to his illness. Directed by Catherine Baldwin, Suspended Animation immediately performed stabilization, cool down and field washout procedures. To further avoid any potential delays associated with commercial airline shipping, the family provided additional funds for a private jet service to fly the patient directly to Scottsdale.
The patient arrived at Alcor seven hours after cardiac arrest and the cryoprotective surgery began 15 minutes later. On March 10th, 2013, A-2419 joined his wife at Alcor, who was also cryopreserved in 2009.