In 2006, Seattle native Timothy Ray Brown had already spent about a decade keeping one deadly disease in check. He’d been diagnosed with HIV in 1995 and was living in Berlin, taking a cocktail of drugs to manage the disease, when he received more fatal news—he had acute myeloid leukemia. That disease turned out to be the key to curing the first. Brown’s German doctor, Dr. Gero Hütter, decided to try an experimental cure: They would wipe out Brown’s immune system and start anew, rebuilding it with donated stem cells from a donor who was immune to HIV, transferring that immunity, in theory, to Brown. Brown has said that the cure nearly killed him, but it worked. Since then, he’s become a voice for more HIV/AIDS research, establishing the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation of the World AIDS Foundation and serving as inspiration for researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who are pursuing a cure for HIV via cell-based therapies, and who honored Brown at an event in June.
The Full List: Most Influential People of 2013
Their finger prints are all over Seattle. From protecting honeybees to regulating marijuana to popping and locking, these 54 men and women (and in one case, a machine) are shaping our neighborhoods, economy, attitudes and future. In the case of our person of the year—for the first time in our nine years of compiling this list, it’s a tie!—the impact is on a global scale. We may not always like the direction they are taking us in but it’s hard to deny: these folks are taking us somewhere.