Dr. Katalin Karikó’s Daughter Gave a Moving Tribute to Her Mom at Glamour’s 2021 WOTY Awards
“The Scientist Who Saved the World”: That’s the headline for Dr. Katalin Karikó’s 2021 Glamour Women of the Year profile. And that’s not an exaggeration: Karikó’s work with mRNA became the basis for the world’s most effective coronavirus vaccines, which quite literally saved millions of lives over the past year. It’s because of Dr. Katalin Karikó’s work that the world is becoming “normal” again, and honoring her as a Glamour WOTY is just one way we’re saying thank you.
But Dr. Katalin Karikó’s work never sleeps, which is why she couldn’t attend Glamour’s WOTY Awards ceremony in New York on Monday, November 8. In a video, she told attendees and honorees, “As women, we are very powerful. I am happy that I was one of the many, many persons who contributed to the vaccine.”
Her daughter, Olympic gold medalist Susan Francia, accepted the award on her behalf in person. And her tribute to her mother was moving and heartfelt.
“I’m so honored to speak tonight on behalf of 2021 Glamour Woman of the Year Dr. Katalin Karikó, who I usually call Mom,” she said. “She has to be in Germany for work tonight, but you’ll have to excuse her for sending me instead, because the work she does saves lives. It was her lifelong efforts in RNA research that enabled Pfizer and Moderna to create the mRNA vaccine that is preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
Francia continued, “That humility is so typical of my mother. She was surprised that Glamour wanted to give her this honor, as she doesn’t think of herself as a cover star or as glamorous. But we all know that standing up for yourself and fighting for what you believe in is just about the most glamorous thing that woman can do. In that case, she’s as glamorous as it gets.”
She added, “I credit my mother for giving me the determination that led me to become a gold-medal winning rower, an entrepreneur, and recently, a mother myself. Right now we see the acclaim she’s gotten, but it came after decades of rejection. Still, she had the dogged determination to pursue work that she knew would change science and ultimately save lives from diseases like HIV, malaria, and even some cancers. My mother never let anyone else’s opinion sway her. Ever. Self-belief is constantly trying to be knocked out of women, but she knew she was right and she carried on.”
Francia ended her beautiful speech with, “Tonight we are celebrating the two-year anniversary of my mother hearing the words, ‘It works.’ But most of all we are celebrating my mother, Dr. Kati Karikó, and women like her who teach us to persevere against all odds. I know she would want me to thank Glamour, her colleagues, and most of all the front line workers who put their lives on the line every day to protect ours.”
The Glamour Woman of the Year Awards ceremony was held in compliance with local health and safety guidelines.
Published at Tue, 09 Nov 2021 01:00:00 +0000