Pubdate: Tue, 22 Jul 2003
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2003 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Author: Paul S. Groesbeck


Hawai'i lost a good measure of compassion, wisdom and clear thinking with
the recent passing of professor Donald Topping.

Don had 73 years jam-packed with useful accomplishments, and I regret I only
knew him in his last decade. However, in those latter years, Don founded an
organization, the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i, that will benefit us all for
years to come.

As the director of an AIDS organization, I am profoundly grateful for Don's
assertive leadership in the effort that led to the passage of a law that
allows seriously ill people to use marijuana to ease their pain, nausea and
other symptoms that do not respond to traditional medicine. Our Legislature
demonstrated both courage and caring when it passed the medical marijuana
law, but I think its action would have been delayed but for the
always-well-informed and never-wavering encouragement of Don Topping.

Anyone who thinks that one person cannot make a difference need only examine
the life of professor Don Topping. Even as he confronted his own mortality,
he stood up for what he believed and for people who could not speak for
themselves. We are all better for having had him among us and diminished by
his death.

Paul S. Groesbeck, Executive director

The Life Foundation
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