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tv   60 Minutes on CNBC  CNBC  April 3, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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thanks for joining us. captioning by captionmax www.captionmax.com [ticking] >> these deaths of children under five have come down substantially. 1960, it was 20 million children under the age of five that died. now it's 9 million children. that's still too many. >> a year. >> a year. [ticking] >> for people of a certain age, the name "howard hughes" conjures up a host of images: record-setting pilot, hollywood playboy, america's first billionaire, and then its most famous recluse. and even today, the hughes name and fortune live on in the howard hughes medical institute. give us some of the hughes greatest hits, some of the great discoveries. >> the discovery of the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy, and a noninvasive test for colon
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cancer. [ticking] >> elissa montanti is unlike almost anyone we've ever met. with the help of some very charitable american doctors, she's changed the lives of more than 100 kids like this one, a boy from iraq who needed an arm, a leg, and an eye. >> i love you, wa'ad. >> you'll follow his transformation... >> look at him. he looks beautiful. >> which is a wonder to watch. [ticking] >> welcome to 60 minutes on cnbc. i'm morley safer. in this edition, we look at the serious business of philanthropy. bill and melinda gates take us inside their foundation, we examine the unintended legacy of howard hughes, and meet a staten island woman helping children maimed by war. we begin with bill and melinda gates. with their plan to give away $60 billion, they're the most generous
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philanthropists in the world. they want to make american kids among the best-educated on earth. and while they're doing that, they also intend to save millions of lives worldwide. the gates shun publicity, but in october 2010, melinda gates agreed to show scott pelley the nuts and bolts of giving away a fortune. [train whistles] >> the north of india, where it is a short drive from the big city to the middle ages. mals bellow] in the countryside of india's most crowded state, uttar pradesh, often, food is scarce, electricity nonexistent, women and infants die in childbirth, and medicine remains in the realm of superstition. it's exactly what melinda gates is looking for: a neglected crisis where her investment can save the most lives. >> our belief is that all lives, no matter where they're lived on the globe, have equal value.
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all lives. >> what are your global priorities? >> hiv/aids, malaria, mother and child deaths, in that order. >> why those? >> when you looked at where the largest number of deaths were on the planet, they were from things like aids, malaria, and these childhood deaths, and nobody was giving voice to them, and no one was really tackling them, so we said, systematically, those are places that we want to go and work. what kind of decisions have you all made that have impacted the village? >> it might be occurring to you right about now that you haven't seen the world's richest woman before. she's not the type to stand on a red carpet with million-dollar earrings. melinda gates is a former microsoft executive who managed 800 people in software development and marketing. now the work of the foundation is her obsession. this isn't a photo op. in fact, it took us a year to convince her to let us come along. she travels often, probing for facts, analyzing needs, measuring the misery.
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>> i have to be here to see it and to feel it and to understand, you know, what motivates these people. what is it that they're doing for their livelihood? unless i see it and feel it and touch it, i just don't feel like i can do the foundation justice in terms of what we're trying to accomplish. oh, she's gorgeous. >> what she's trying to accomplish here is saving lives at birth. in india alone, 1 million babies die every year before they're a month old. so i wonder which ladies in this audience have lost a child shortly after childbirth. >> [speaks foreign language] >> oh, look at that. one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16-- it's a common experience in this village. >> yeah. >> very. [indistinct chatter] >> this is a great example of exactly how the foundation works. the foundation poured money into research to understand the problem. it found that by tradition, childbirth is considered unclean
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here. babies are often left on dirt floors uncovered while the mother is tended to first. [baby crying] the foundation tested solutions, trained healthcare workers to use sterilized tools, and taught the mothers to keep the babies warm: simple, inexpensive ideas that have reduced deaths here by half. part of the foundation's strategy is to team up with governments and other charities to make the money go farther and spread the best ideas. >> these deaths of children under five have come down substantially. 1960, it was 20 million children under the age of five that died. now it's 9 million children. that's still too many. >> a year. >> a year. every year, 9 million children die. we can get that down. >> and as for those other priorities she mentioned, the foundation is working on a vaccine for hiv, and nothing less than the eradication of malaria and polio, taking on everything at once. >> part of what you're doing-- >> melinda gates is analytical and driven, not unlike her
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husband. she likes hard facts, strict accounting, and expects everyone around her to measure up, very much the ceo. >> what has been the thing that women are most reluctant to change? >> she talks about spending a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon, you realize that billionaire philanthropists aren't like you and me. there was a funny moment when she was going through some of the figures, and in an uncharacteristic slip, she said she'd pledged $1 billion to vaccines when it's actually $10 billion. you know, it just occurred to me, you had misplaced $9 billion. >> [laughs] >> now, i misplace change at the end of the day, but you had actually forgotten about $9 billion. >> i think i missed a zero in there. >> most people would remember that kind of a number. >> you know, for me, i think more about the possibility of what it is we're trying to change. so if i have to go around the health statistics in the world, i don't tend to get those wrong, but the amount of dollars we put in, i'm always more focused on what's the result we're gonna get, no matter how much money we put into the issue. >> now, i'm from texas too, so i
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can say this. you don't wear your wealth like a dallas gal. >> [chuckles] >> you don't seem to be a big consumer of jewelry and cosmetics. >> i don't find great joy in those things. i find much more joy in connecting with people. i'm much more at home being what i call "out on the ground" doing this work, and for me, that's where i find meaning. i don't find meaning in material things. [women singing] >> this village had nothing material to give but music. ♪ you know, it's a long way from microsoft. >> [laughs] i like this a whole lot better. [ticking] >> coming up, the gates foundation and american education. >> the country is built on ingenuity. it's built on having lots of very well-educated people, and if you were from a poor family, how are you going to break out of that? well, education is the only way. >> good morning. >> bill gates goes to school
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[ticking] >> based in seattle, the bill and melinda gates foundation is the largest philanthropic organization in the world. they've already given away billions. it takes a small army of people to evaluate the many
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organizations applying for grants. >> there are 850 employees figuring out which science or development projects are worthy. and listen to what they have spent already: $4.5 billion for vaccines, almost $2 billion for scholarships in america, and $1.5 billion to improve farming in africa and asia, just to name a few. the foundation's wealth ranks up there with america's biggest companies. boy, his and hers offices. i'm not sure a lot of marriages would survive this. >> [laughs] >> it works out great. >> we actually like it a lot. >> it was back in 1993 on a vacation in africa that they began to think about giving away their money. >> well, if you have money, what are you gonna do with it? you can spend it on yourself. you can have, you know, thousands of people holding fans and cooling you off. you can build pyramids and things. you know, i sometimes order two cheeseburgers instead of one, but we didn't have any
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consumption ideas, and if you don't think it's a favor to your kids to have them start with gigantic wealth, then you got to pick a cause. >> you don't consider it to be a favor to your kids? >> no, absolutely not. >> to give them enormous wealth? >> no. they should go on to pursue whatever it is they want to do in life and not feel cheated by that by being given something, given a whole lot of wealth. they would never go out and figure out who they are and what their potential is. >> have you talked to them about this? have you said, "look, we're gonna give most of this away"? >> absolutely. >> and they're okay with giving the money away? >> they are okay with it. >> yeah, as they reach different ages, they may ask us again. "tell me again why." [all laugh] "why?" >> the gates kids will still be massively wealthy, but their parents have already given roughly $30 billion to the foundation, and they told us they'll give 90% of their money away. add to that the contribution of the gates' close friend, warren buffet, who has committed
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another $30 billion to the foundation. the foundation, you, have made certain choices about what you're going to fund, and some people might ask, "why not drop $30 billion on a cure for cancer?" for example. >> well, there's a huge market for cancer drugs, and there's dozens of pharmaceutical companies that spend tens of billions on those drugs. in malaria, when we announced a grant for $50 million, we became the biggest private funders, and so the fact that it kills over a million children a year and yet has almost no money given to it, you know, that struck us as very strange, but it became the thing we saw "okay, this will be unique. we'll take the diseases of the poor where there's no market, and we'll get the best scientists working on those diseases." >> you're trying to find the places where the money will have the most leverage, how you can save the most lives for the dollar, so to speak. >> right, and transform the
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societies. >> good morning. >> another society they want to transform is america's, particularly through the schools. they have pledged nearly 1/4 of all the foundation money to american students, and we followed melinda to the friendship collegiate academy high school in washington, d.c. i wonder what you think is the most alarming thing about american education. >> i think it's most alarming that we're only preparing 1/3 of the kids to go on to college. that's a frightening thing for our democracy to say 1/3 of kids are prepared to go. >> sine squared. >> if only 1/3 of high school seniors are academically prepared to go to college, the gates believe that a revolution in teaching can go a long way to pushing that up to their goal of 80%. they're funding research to figure out what makes great teachers great. >> do you feel like you're prepared, that you could go on and succeed in college? >> all: yes. >> the foundation is at work in schools in nearly all 50 states. >> what book are you reading?
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>> sort of like national parents, bill and melinda gates have helped pay college tuition for 20,000 american kids. >> the country is built on ingenuity. it's built on having lots of very well-educated people, and if you were from a poor family, how are you going to break out of that? well, education is the only way. education is the thing that 20 years from now will determine if this country is as strong and as just as it wants to be. >> one of the boldest efforts of the foundation is unfolding in the slums that we visited in delhi: an attempt to eradicate polio. no one in america has seen this since the 1960s. we found, in a delhi hospital, a polio ward full of paralyzed children. >> this young boy, sahil, he is ten years old. sahil has got paralysis on one
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side of his body, one leg. see there what he's doing? he's trying his best. he's bringing his hand, but he cannot move his leg. >> in a country where water often runs next to sewage, the virus, which is spread through human waste, finds new victims. polio has been cornered to just four countries on earth, so the gates have teamed with rotary international to bang on every door to find the last child who hasn't tasted the vaccine. do you believe you can do that, actually eradicate the virus from the face of the earth? >> it's been done with smallpox, and that's what gives us the hope and the belief. >> namaste. while in india, we were invited to a ceremony that every new mother prays for. because so many newborns die, they're not given names right away. this family had waited a week to bring their daughter into the light and name her "durga," which means "invincible." it was during the ceremony that we saw what it was that has
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moved a no-nonsense executive to give away her fortune. >> can i hold her? oh. oh! >> durga's first blessing was from the sun. then she received a second: a future free of polio. [women singing in foreign language] ♪ >> in his 2012 annual gates foundation letter, bill gates stated that the foundation's top priority remains helping to complete the eradication of polio, and in january 2012, the foundation celebrated a significant milestone towards achieving its mission. that month, india celebrated its first year without a single new case of polio. [ticking] coming up, the public legacy of a legendary recluse. >> who would have thought that the howard hughes fortune would
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end up supporting biomedical research at the-- >> probably not howard hughes. [laughs] >> howard hughes, the accidental philanthropist when 60 minutes on cnbc returns. we have two car insurances that we're going to have you taste. the first one we're going to call x. go ahead and take a sip, and then let me know what the baby thinks of it. four million drivers switched to this car insurance last year. oh, she likes it babies' palates are very sensitive
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so she's probably tasting the low rates. this is car insurance y, they've been losing customers pretty quickly. oh my gosh, that's horrible!, which would you choose? geico. over their competitor. do you want to finish it? no. does the baby want to finish it? no.
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the chevy cruze eco also offers 42 mpg on the highway. actually, it's cruze e-co, not ec-o. just like e-ither. or ei-ther. or e-conomical. [ chuckling ] or ec-onomical. pa-tato, po-tato, huh?
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actually, it's to-mato, ta-mato. oh, that's right. [ laughs ] [ car door shuts ] [ male announcer ] visit your local chevy dealer today. now very well qualified lessees can get a 2012 chevy cruze ls for around $159 per month. e.p.a. estimated 36 miles per gallon highway. [ticking] >> howard hughes was once the richest man in the world. he was also one of the strangest. a recluse for the last 20 years of his life, hughes died in 1976. but as lesley stahl reported in 2008, the vast fortune he left behind is having a powerful impact on the world.
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>> in suburban washington, d.c., hidden behind trees so big and signs so small that even some neighbors don't know it's there, is the howard hughes medical institute, one of the richest and quietest charities ever created. tom cech is the institute's president. how large is the endowment? >> the good news is that as of 9:30 this morning, it was up from $10 billion a few months ago to now $11 billion. >> that makes the hughes institute the second largest philanthropy in the country. only bill gates' foundation is bigger. >> okay, so there's something interesting. >> it's mission: to unlock the secrets of life. hughes funds hundreds of the best biologists and geneticists in america. give us some of the hughes greatest hits, some of the great discoveries. >> the discovery of the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy, and a
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noninvasive test for colon cancer. >> and a new drug that fights leukemia, breakthroughs in aids research, work that may lead to a cure for spinal cord injuries, and much more. all these discoveries were made by so-called "howard hughes investigators." there are more than 300 in the u.s., and they're the cream of the scientific crop. how much does howard hughes spend a year funding all these projects? >> it's about $1 million per investigator per year, about $450 million a year. >> wow. >> who would have thought that the howard hughes fortune would end up supporting biomedical research at the-- >> probably not howard hughes. [laughs] it's very likely that hughes didn't mean for all this to happen, and that's where our science story gets juicy. author richard hack has written two biographies of howard hughes. >> he was a playboy. he was a world-class pilot.
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he dated bette davis, katharine hepburn, ginger rogers, ava gardner, rita hayworth in the same week. >> hollywood was his playground, but hughes came to fame as a record-setting pilot, and it was his hughes aircraft company that turned him into a billionaire. his most famous plane, the spruce goose, was a giant wooden seaplane that flew just once with hughes at the controls. despite that flop, hughes aircraft still became one of america's biggest defense contractors. >> the company originally started to make airplanes, and then it maneuvered itself into guidance systems, so it was a very important element of the air force. >> but the world's richest man wasn't your average government contractor. he was combative. he bullied pentagon officials. this newsreel from 1947 shows him lambasting a u.s. senator who had had the audacity to
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challenge him. >> when senator brewster realized that he was fighting a battle against public opinion, a losing battle, he folded up and took a runout powder. >> by 1953, the temperamental hughes had begun to withdraw from public view. his own executives at hughes aircraft often couldn't reach him, and he cut off all contact with the air force. at some point, the air force decided that hughes was a liability to his own company. >> right. >> and the air force came and delivered an ultimatum. >> well, it was at the beverly hills hotel, and the secretary of the air force came and demanded to see howard hughes, who kept him waiting for an hour and a half. the secretary of the air force came in and said, "you either put control of this company under somebody that i'm going to tell you to hire, or we are removing every single contract from hughes aircraft." he gave him 90 days.
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>> so what happened? >> well, in exactly 90 days to the day, he created the howard hughes medical institute. >> this was one wily move. by giving the new institute 100% ownership of hughes aircraft, hughes got out from under the air force ultimatum and built a giant tax shelter for the company's profits. >> because it was a medical institute, it was all tax-free. it was a charity even though, of course, they did no research. >> they did no research? >> there were no personnel. the only trustee was howard hughes. >> this is how this medical institute started? >> right. >> when the irs challenged the institute, it did begin to fund some research, but for many years, as hughes retreated further into isolation and illness, much more money went to him than to science. i have a vision of him living at the top of a hotel in las vegas, and no one could get in to see him. >> that is absolutely true. he did black out the windows.
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he did live by himself. he didn't even walk to the bathroom. he was carried to the bathroom. >> well, i heard he didn't even bathe. >> he didn't dress, let alone bathe. the fact is, the man had enough money that if he didn't want to get up out of bed, he didn't. and in fact, he didn't. [ticking] >> coming up, the politics of medical research. >> were you taking a swipe at the president's policy? >> it's either ethical, or it's not ethical. we decided that that was not a place that we were comfortable. >> that's ahead when 60 minutes on cnbc returns. ♪ wgg ♪ here we are, me and you ♪ on the road ♪ and we know that it goes on and on ♪ [ female announcer ] you're the boss of your life. in charge of making memories and keeping promises.
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two of the most important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada, we'll be able to produce these oil sands with the same emissions as many other oils and that's a huge breakthrough. that's good for our country's energy security and our economy.
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[ticking] >> howard hughes was a very wealthy man who took orders from no one. in 1953, as a business ploy, the
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reclusive billionaire turned his company into a registered charity, the howard hughes medical institute. but it was only when the aviation pioneer died that his institute really took off. >> hughes died without a will in 1976, and the institute was mired in years of litigation. finally, in 1984, a court appointed new trustees, and they promptly sold hughes aircraft to general motors for $5 billion. suddenly, an institute created basically as a sham became one of the richest charities america had ever seen. and wouldn't he be surprised? >> i would guess that he would be completely surprised, and this would be all very unexpected. i hope, though, that he would be excited about it. >> hughes gives its investigators freedoms most scientists can only dream of. for instance, they're free of the crushing paperwork required to get money from the national
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institutes of health. they have to fill out a form that is very specific for the nih >> it's about 30 pages single-spaced, and it has to delineate every step in every experiment. >> which hughes investigators don't have to do? >> yes, the paperwork for a government grant is sort of like filling out your tax forms, in contrast, and we want to free up people to think about their science, not think about filling out forms. >> so this is your lab? >> yes. >> hughes investigator doug melton at harvard is thinking about a cure for juvenile diabetes. >> and i can think, as i do most every waking moment of the day, "how am i gonna get those cells to become insulin-producing cells?" and the hughes makes that possible. >> instead of worrying about "how am i gonna get a grant next year?" >> right. that's right. >> melton wouldn't have gotten a federal grant at all for this research. he's working with stem cells from human embryos. in 2001, president bush imposed his stem cell ban, in which he
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tried to balance the objections of opponents of abortion against the wishes of scientists to work with collections of stem cells called "lines." >> he drew this line at saying, "well, if someone else has already created these stem lines, then it's okay for you to use them, but don't create any new ones." >> critics say that's morally ambiguous. were you taking a swipe at the president's policy? >> it's either ethical or it's not ethical. we decided that that was not a place that we were comfortable... >> and you don't think it is unethical? >> morally drawing a line, and we don't think it's unethical, therefore, we think that we have not just an opportunity to engage in this research, but perhaps a responsibility. >> since the ban applies only to researchers using federal grants, though that means most scientists, hughes, as a private institution, is free to plow ahead. i'm gonna see one of those stem cell lines myself? >> that's right. >> ooh. >> now we can look right in
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here, and you'll see a clump of cells. >> using leftover embryos from a boston fertility clinic, melton has created nearly a dozen entirely new stem cell lines. >> so you see that little ball as a clump of them growing, and they don't know what to do yet, and we're trying to figure out how to tell them what they do. in our case, we want them to become these insulin cells. >> hughes money is being used to solve all kinds of arcane scientific puzzles. >> i'll tell you a very specific story that would have never happened if not for hughes. >> hughes has been funding doctor huda zoghbi's lab at the baylor college of medicine since 1996. >> i became interested in really understanding how balance and coordination are controlled in humans. >> to find the gene that controls human balance, she had to first go looking in fruit flies, then in mice. that took years, and because it wasn't focused on curing a specific ailment, nobody else
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was likely to pay for it. >> that really has nothing to do with disease. it's far out from disease, and hardly anybody, when we started this study in 1995, would be attracted to funding something relevant to fruit fly to study in a mouse and a human. >> sometimes, it's just the sort of digging around in basic biology that uncovers something that you never would have found as easily if you had been just narrowly focused on the particular disease, and that's often where the really big breakthroughs come. >> so we found the gene, and it turned out to be a very important gene. it turned out to be a gene that's essential for the little hair cells in the inner ear that allow you to hear and allow you to know where your head position is when you close your eyes. we would have never known how important it is and know nothing about it if not for funding from hughes. and that, i think, has paid off in a big way. >> hughes also allows its
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scientists to change course. when doug melton first got funding, he was studying the development of frogs. then his infant son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. >> i stopped working on frogs and asked my colleagues to join me in working on the problem of how to make the cells that are absent in juvenile diabetics. the howard hughes medical institute was perfectly fine with it. i told them what i was gonna do. they said, "sounds interesting to us. go for it." >> now, do you think, for instance, if you'd had a grant from nih that they would have reacted that blithely? >> no, the nih doesn't work that way. >> but because hughes does, doug melton has since become one of the leading diabetes and stem cell researchers in the world. >> and unfortunately, my daughter contracted diabetes just last year. she's older than my son, but so now my efforts are redoubled, in a way. i'm really committed to try to
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solve this problem. >> are you basically encouraging your investigators to take risks, to go over to the edge of the ledge and peer over? >> to take risks in the sense not just of doing something that has a low probability of succeeding, but in terms of thinking about the big problems, such as, you know, how does memory work, and how does the brain accomplish decision-making. >> well, it would be wrong to pretend that i was in any way like galileo, but it is true that the medici family supported investigators like galileo to allow them the freedom to explore things which they couldn't otherwise do. and that's how i like to think of the howard hughes medical institute. it allows us the freedom to explore things that we wouldn't otherwise do. >> as the institute supports more and more explorations like melton's, history may begin to remember howard hughes differently, not just as a bizarre billionaire or just as a pilot and a playboy, but as a
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great, if accidental, patron of science. >> accidental or not, howard hughes' patronage of science continues. the howard hughes medical institute remains the second largest charitable organization in the united states. but since our story first aired, president obama lifted restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. also, in 2009, tom cech stepped down as the institute's president. [ticking] coming up, meet the woman changing lives one child at a time. >> tell them this true story. here's a child that's battered. i just tell them the reality. i expect them to help. >> that's ahead when 60 minutes on cnbc returns. hi, i'm sarah james. and i blog at hairthursday.com.
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[ticking] >> children are the most innocent casualties of war. caught in the crossfire or hit by a roadside bomb, they rarely receive high-tech medical care. one new yorker, elissa montanti, decided to help. she had little money and no training in humanitarian relief. yet montanti has helped change the lives of more than 100 crippled children. in march 2011, scott pelley
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reported on montanti's journey with one child: a nine-year-old boy from iraq named wa'ad. >> this is wa'ad when he arrived in america with his mother, waffa. elissa montanti brought them here after an american soldier told her wa'ad's story. >> he was walking with his friends, and they were kicking a bottle. i think the first child kicked the bottle, and then maybe the second, and then he kicked it, and it exploded. >> it was a bomb. >> it was a bomb. >> the blast shattered his face, tore out his eye, and took away his right arm and left leg. wa'ad would receive treatment for all of those wounds from a network of volunteers and charities that elissa montanti has recruited one by one over the last 15 years. wa'ad's first stop was at the shriners hospital in philadelphia. shriners has 22 hospitals that
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provide free care to burned and crippled children. >> oh, you are so strong! >> [speaking foreign language] >> wa'ad pushed through physical therapy to strengthen his muscles... >> you're gonna be superman. >> [laughs] >> [speaks foreign language] >> but slowed down long enough... >> wow, he really gets around well. >> to get fitted for a new arm and leg that the shriners made for him. then it was a trip to see an ocular specialist, annette kirzot, who also volunteers for elissa. a prosthetic eye was the first step in improving wa'ad's appearance. >> happy? >> happy. >> happy. [chuckles] >> happy. >> but the tougher part would be reconstructing his face. >> wa'ad. how are you, buddy? >> that was the challenge for plastic surgeon kaveh alizadeh. he's a long island volunteer recruited by elissa. >> so there's this increasing pool of people that get drawn into her world, and if you have,
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if you're lucky or unlucky enough... [laughs] to be excited about this stuff, you get pulled in. can you blow up your cheeks really big? >> [speaks foreign language] >> when you first approach a hospital or a doctor to ask them for, potentially, hundreds of thousands of dollars in free medical care, what's your pitch? what do you tell them? >> i tell them this true story. here's a child that's battered. i just tell them the reality. i expect them to help. i'm grateful 'cause they don't have to help, but i expect that they would because... [sighs] how could you not? >> after the earthquake in haiti, she went to the island and brought back three girls who lost limbs. elissa's work with crippled children began back in 1996 when a friend asked her to raise money to buy school supplies for kids in war-torn bosnia. that led to a meeting with the
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bosnian ambassador to the u.n. >> and he said to me, "you know, quite frankly, we have much stronger needs right now than pencil cases." he reached in his drawer, and he handed me this letter that this boy had written to him asking for help: two new arms and a leg. and i saw his picture, and that's really when my whole life started to change. >> she brought that boy to the u.s. for treatment. kenan malkic now helps elissa run her tiny charity with a mighty name. she calls it "the global medical relief fund." global medical relief sounds really big. >> it's big in the sense that we reach out to the world, but it's small in that it's really me. >> maybe you should call it "one little lady in staten island." >> [laughs] >> she runs global medical relief out of her home with a computer and a phone. >> my office is my former
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walk-in closet, and i added a window, and it works. and i speak to the world right out of my walk-in closet. >> the 112 children that you've helped so far... >> mm-hmm? >> come from where? >> bosnia, el salvador, liberia, niger, sierra leone, iraq, china, indonesia, pakistan, haiti. did i say nepal? >> how do you keep it running? >> on a prayer. [laughs] [ticking] >> coming up, the personal cost of caring. >> how often do you run into people who say, "look, those kids are from overseas, and we'd rather donate our money to kids here in the united states"? >> often. >> it's a big problem for you? >> i've gotten hate mail. >> oh, hate mail? >> yeah. >> that's ahead when 60 minutes on cnbc returns.
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just select the zip codes where you want your message to be seen, rint it yourself, or we'll help you find a local partner and you find the customers that matter most. brilliant. clifton, show us overjoyed. no, too much. jennessa. ah! a round of applause. [ applause ] [ male announcer ] go online to reach every home, every address, every time with every door direct mail. [ticking] >> moved by the images of children injured in war, elissa montanti began a one-woman campaign to help them. montanti can't write a check to help them. she relies on other methods. >> she simply begs and borrows from doctors and hospitals, whatever it takes. she's traveled to the middle east arranging passports, cutting red tape, and getting wounded children out one at a time. word spread among soldiers in iraq that an american charity called global medical relief is a lifeline. >> "we are working in mosul."
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>> now she gets a dozen emails a month from the war zone, most of which start with "dear sir." >> there's so many. >> how do these letters end? >> "please help." >> it was an email like that that started wa'ad on his journey with elissa montanti. and seven weeks after he arrived, wa'ad was scheduled for his first surgery to repair his face. he walked into the hospital thanks to his new prosthetic leg. when you first met miss elissa, do you remember what she told you, that she would do for you? >> [speaks foreign language] >> he said they will help me to make surgery and fix my arm, leg." >> and make you whole again? >> [speaks foreign language] >> mm. [speaks foreign language ] >> hey. >> doctor alizadeh's goal is to minimize the scar that runs from wa'ad's scalp down to his chin. the surgery was done at north
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shore university hospital, which donated its facilities. >> i love you, wa'ad. >> my plan today is to go ahead and expand the skin surrounding the scar, putting a sophisticated tissue balloon underneath the skin where the skin slowly stretches over time. >> that sophisticated tissue balloon implanted under his cheek will be inflated gradually over the course of weeks. so over time, you're gonna stretch his skin out, essentially creating new skin? >> that's right. >> and then you're gonna cut the scars out and move the new skin together? >> i hope so. that's the plan. >> but wa'ad's appearance would have to become much worse before he had a chance to get better. [device beeping] >> [speaking foreign language] >> during his time here, elissa arranged for wa'ad to live alongside the three haitian girls in temporary housing, a jesuit retreat on staten island. >> [shouts in foreign language]
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>> [speaks in foreign language] >> together, they formed a family. kids who didn't speak the same language helping each other through a painful experience. >> [cries] >> wa'ad is coming around the bend. >> even with all the free care, elissa spends about $50,000 a year on plane tickets and expenses. she raises it from donors including richmond county savings, a staten island bank, but sometimes, it's tough going. >> i've gotten hate mail. >> oh, hate mail? >> yeah. um, you know, "how can you help children from iraq when they're going to grow and just hate the united states? you should help the children here." >> and to those people, you would say what? >> i say we don't have land mines in this country, thank god, and these children are innocent. >> nearly three months into wa'ad's treatment, the kids went
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to an amusement park. the balloons under wa'ad's face had been successfully inflated, but remember, we said things would get worse before they got better. this was wa'ad in june. imagine what it takes to be a stranger in america and place your faith in a painful procedure you don't understand. some people need courage for a roller coaster. [children scream] wa'ad sat right up front to see what it's like to be a kid again. >> all right, do you want to just bring him to the room straight? >> [crying] >> i'll take him in. >> two days later came his final surgery. >> wa'ad, no pain. >> [speaks foreign language] >> [crying] [device beeping] >> over two hours, doctor alizadeh removed the balloons from under wa'ad's skin, cut out the scars, and joined the new skin together. >> oh, god. look at him. he looks beautiful.
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>> plastic surgery requires months of healing, and in recovery, wa'ad had a long way to go. >> there you go. now you can look at mommy. >> but for the first time, his mother began to recognize the face she hadn't seen in more than two years. >> happy, be happy, okay? >> [crying] >> sleepy. >> oh. >> thank you so much. >> my pleasure. >> yes, thank you. >> i'm curious why you do this. >> i do this probably for the most selfish reason, which is that it feels good. >> what do you think? >> [mumbles] >> well, my charity is very personal. it becomes a global family. all these children--i say "my children" so often because i feel that they are. i love all of them.
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it's more than just an organization that is giving a child a leg or fixing his face. these children go back as little ambassadors, and they tell their town, their village, who say "how wonderful the american people are." >> in early august, wa'ad had one more checkup with doctor alizadeh. look at this face. he looks so much better. aren't you handsome? >> [speaking foreign language] >> wa'ad, you look so good. his scars will continue to fade over time, but this isn't the end of wa'ad's treatment. the plan is for him to come back from time to time for touch-ups as he grows older. he's got his smile back. >> he's got a smile. [speaks foreign language] >> and i think he understands more english than he used to understand. >> yeah. >> yeah. [laughs] >> may i have your attention please? >> four months after they arrived in america, wa'ad and his mother headed home to iraq. >> four months after they arrived in america, wad and his mother headed home to iraq.
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>> hard to say good-bye? >> very hard. >> i cry all the time. >> you must worry that you won't see him again. >> i do. because it's always that worry, what if? you know, what if something happens while they're in iraq? what if i can't do this anymore? >> a few weeks later, we checked in on wa'ad back in his neighborhood in iraq. that's him in the red shirt. we found the boy who'd been disfigured and left to hop on one leg was back with a smile and a pretty solid kick. >> since our report first aired, elisa's global medical relief fund as received more than $1 million in donations. some of that money went towards purchasing a house where children can stay while they undergo treatment. november 2011, she said the number of children being treated was 150 and counting. 's

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