Oct
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Childhood Cancer Awareness

SEPTEMBER

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

I realize this is October 1st, and September is over, but the awareness for Childhood Cancer should be a priority all year long!

Here are some facts that most people are not aware of:

  • 720 Children are diagnosed with cancer every day
  • 250 Children die every day from cancer
  • Childhood Cancer is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 15 in the U.S.
  • One in every 330 children will develop cancer before the age of 19
  • 500,000 estimated number of children are fighting cancer globally

Other cancer facts:

  • 20,000 people a year, might benefit from a potentially life-saving bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant
  • 1 in 72 people will likely be diagnosed with leukemia during their lifetime
  • Stem cells found in umbilical cord blood are the leading treatment for one of the most common cancers
  • Your baby’s cord blood could save the life of a brother, sister, mom, dad, grandparent, uncle or aunt or a complete stranger!

You may not be the parent of a child with cancer, neither was I until the day of my daughter’s diagnosis.

If you are pregnant, or know someone that is, please educate yourself and encourage them to learn more about their options with their baby’s cord blood.

Together we can save lives!

Lea Ann Stiller

 

 

Aug
0

365 Days

Lea Ann Stiller, Matt Farrow and Emily Curry

365 Days

I can’t believe it has been a year ago that we had to say goodbye to “OUR” Natalie.

This past year has been one of change, acceptance, faith, and hope. During this journey, that I thought would be unbearable, I have learned so much. One of the most amazing things was that Natalie had touched so many peoples’ lives in such a short time period. I have been blessed by having the opportunity to meet some of those people in person.

This blog is dedicated to one of those individuals, Matt Farrow. For many of you that will read this, you already know who he is. For those who don’t,  I will attempt to give you a brief glimpse into his life. Matt has Fanconi Anemia, like Natalie did. Matt had a perfect matched sibling, born just a couple of months after Natalie’s match, Emily,  in 1988. Matt had the first umbilical cord blood transplant 11 months prior to Natalie’s in the same hospital in Paris by the same doctor. Matt and Natalie never had the opportunity to meet. She often spoke of Matt and always wanted to meet him. Fortunately, this past year has given me the opportunity to meet Matt. He is as wonderful as I had always envisioned him to be.  Full of love, optimism, and promise!

Prior to Natalie’s death, I made her a promise to never leave the field of umbilical cord blood. I have been given a wonderful opportunity to work for the world’s best cord blood company, CORD:USE Cord Blood Bank. Here, I was reunited with all of the pioneers of the cord blood industry, including the founder, Dr. Hal Broxmeyer,  and also Matt Farrow. The entire team is fabulous and I feel very blessed to be working with them everyday to change, save, and improve lives.

I know there is a very happy Angel watching and smiling from Heaven.

Natalie,

Thank you for showing all of us how to live, love, and laugh… even during the most difficult times.

Love and miss you everyday!

MOM

 

 

 

Jan
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Letter to God

Hello,

For many of you that will receive this blog, this will not be a shock or surprise. Natalie passed away peacefully on August 30, 2012. She was surrounded by her very loving and devoted family. We had the opportunity to hold her hands while she entered into eternal life and became an official Angel. Her battle with cancer that she was blogging about turned into non-specific interstitial lung disease. To the best of our knowledge, cancer did not play any part of this dreaded condition, but was possibly caused by the side effects of her procedure to remove the esophageal cancer. During her lifetime there were many medical battles, all of which she won….with the exception of this. Natalie endured so much pain, heart-break, and suffering but managed to see the beauty in life. She was a very gifted writer and loved poetry. Days prior to her onset of ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), she drafted this poem;

Letter to God

I said my prayers today

I’ll say them tomorrow too

I say them all the time

You have many to sort through.

 

Where do I start and when do I stop.

Just point the direction to go

Please help to guide me through.

If I don’t ask, how will you ever know?

 

You calm my fears, you control my heart…

Natalie’s spirit and soul will live on in the ones that love her beyond words. One of the promises we made Natalie, if anything ever happened to her, we would continue to spread the word on the importance of umbilical cord blood and the promise of stem cells. With that being said, more blogs will be posted in her memory.

We wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and blessed New Year!

The family of Natalie Curry

Jul
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Where Is It?

What to do now?? Patients with FA who have had a bone marrow transplant are not candidates for chemo and radiation. (The past two blog post, including this one , are all a reflection of my battle that began in January 2011. )

At this point we know I have Cancer and we are told that it has spread to numerous parts of my body. The next step was to find out if it was really growing in all the areas they think it has spread to. We decided to start by doing a biopsy of my left lung.  This is a very risky procedure, but Mom insisted that I have it performed.  My dad and step-mom Cindy came to NY to be with me for the test. Having them with me made me feel comfortable.

Once I got to the hospital they gave me some medicine to relax me and make me sleepy. Next thing  I know I’m lying on my stomach. waiting anxiously for the test to begin. When all of the sudden the doctor said “okay we are finished.” I said, ‘WOW I didn’t even feel a thing”. He said thats because there was no place for us to biopsy. The spot that had shown up on the previous scan had disappeared. I remember being so excited that I almost fell right off the table. Dad, Cindy and I were all over joyed with excitement.

I couldn’t believe it. This meant that there was no cancer in my lungs! Now I just had to have a biopsy of my sacrum to see if the cancer had spread there. The sacrum is the bone at the right at the top of your butt-ox and the bottom of your back Dad stayed in NY to be with me for the procedure. My sisters, Audrey and Emily met dad and I at the hospital for my biopsy. It was the same as the lung biopsy. This time they took a biopsy and I went home right after. Now the hardest part was waiting for the results.

 

 

Jun
0

We ALL Die Sometime

After I finding out that I had cancer, I was terrified but still keeping a positive attitude. I was sure that the cancer had not spread and that I would have it surgically removed and I would be fine.  My next test was called a PET scan. It would show where the cancer was located in my body.  The test itself was very simple and over in no time. Now we just had to wait again for the results.

My next appointment was with a very established thoracic surgeon, Dr.Bains.  I was confident that he would be able to successfully remove my cancer and I would be just fine.  Mom and I waited in a very cold rather large room for Dr.Bains. for an hour and a half.  He came in and began reading the results from my PET scan.  He said the cancer had shown up on the scan in the following areas:

  • Esophagus
  • Left Lung
  • Sacrum
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Stomach

While he was reading this list I was thinking to myself,  does he have the right chart, this can’t be what my scan showed!? I was in shock and shaking with fear. I asked him after he finished reading,  ”if there was something he could do for me?” Was I going to die? His response was, “No and we all die sometime.”  He and his gang of about ten other doctors left the room. As soon as they left my knees hit the ground. My body shook with fear and chills. Mom scooped me up off the ground her face was covered with tears. As she rocked me back and forth we were in a state of uncontrollable emotions.

What would happen now? Did I have a chance? Having FA meant that chemo and radiation were not an option!……..

Jun
0

Cancer-Me?

It’s been a while since I’ve shared anything thats going on in my life. I have been so busy that I haven’t had the time to write.  I am going to take you back to where I left off starting in January 2011.

I (like MANY others) suffer from really bad acid reflux. As a result of this I had to have my esophagus surgically dilated on a routine basis. Unfortunately the last time I had the procedure performed the Dr. tore the wall of my esophagus.  A tear of this kind is rare and statistically life threatening. I only spent three days in the hospital and luckily the tissue repaired itself. Needless to say I was a little apprehensive to have the procedure done anymore. When it was that time again Mom decided to come with me.  It was a regular cold winter day in January in the city as we headed to the hospital  (Sloan Kettering).

Since I was born with FA I am prone to head and neck cancers. Dr’s are always taking biopsy’s of my esophagus anytime it looked suspicious. When I was waking up in the recovery room the Dr. came in and said they were unable to dilate it at all due to a lump they found in the wall. He explained that he thought it looked very concerning and he would call later in the week with results from the biopsy they took. Immediately mom’s eyes swelled up with tears. I remember being scared but also feeling positive since I had had so many biopsy’s in the past. We called family right away and that was gut wrenching, as they all sobbed.

Mom decided to stay to find out the diagnosis and those were some of the hardest days just waiting for results. When the day the Dr. called I was standing starring out the window of our 36th floor apt. He said the results showed that I did in fact have squamous cell carcinoma (a dangerous form of cancer) in my esophagus. He didn’t know anything other than that I had to have many other tests performed to see if was spreading. I hung up the phone ,sat down and began shaking and crying. Mom could tell right away and she held me in her arms for many minutes which seemed like hours. We both knew the road ahead of us was going to long and tough. Being an FA patient meant I would not be able to receive the most common and sucessfull forms of treatment, chemo and radiation. My best bet would be if it had not spread to have it surgically removed. If it had spread we really would be much more limited with our options. Now all we could do is wait my next apt.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more stories to tell.

Feb
0

Diabetes and Cord Blood

I wrote my first blog about diabetes and cord blood on July 26, 2009! Everyday scientists get closer to finding a better way to treat diabetes. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services diabetes affects 25.8 million people of all ages or 8.3 percent of the U.S. population.

Cord Blood is the future of medicine, period. The decision to privately bank your baby’s cord blood should be a parent’s top priority.  With many breakthroughs already proven or in the testing phase, it will more than likely be used sometime within your child’s lifetime. Read more about the most recent news here:

http://www.cbs42.com/content/health/story/Stem-Cell-Therapy-Reverses-Diabetes/4c7rjLBHMkqcESdiscVlOA.cspx

Together we can save lives!

Natalie Curry

 

Jan
0

National Children’s Leukemia Society

 

I have always known that there was a special message about the event that saved my life. I witnessed my Mom speak at many different events, always with a clear message that cord blood saves lives.  This helped me grow into the person I am today and the passion I inherited from her to educate about the importance of stem cells.  There were several events that specially hold a dear place in my heart. One of them was in 1993, she was the spokes person for the National Children’s Leukemia Foundation.

For one of the events all of our family was flown to New York City. I had the opportunity to walk the red carpet for the first time and meet celebrities like Cindy Crawford, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Susan Lucci and many more. But, more importantly I had the chance to meet an amazing person that wanted to change the future for children affected with Leukemia. Steve Shor understands the pain involved in loosing a child to Leukemia, while waiting for a match to have a life saving bone marrow transplant. Instead of Steve moving on with his life, he made a decision to dedicate his future to help improve and prevent other families from suffering the same kind of sorrow he had to learn to live with. Cord Blood could have also saved his sons life.

Now almost 20 years later, Steve and his organization; NCLF have joined together with my personal choice of private cord blood bank; CorCell to work together to save lives.

I am very proud to be a part of this amazing team.

Together we can help save lives!

Natalie Curry

 

Dec
0

Cost

During the Holidays we often find ourselves over spending on material items, and this practice is my inspiration to write this blog.

I personally think that one of the most misconstrued facts about privately storing your baby’s cord blood is COST. When I have the opportunity to speak to an expecting parent, their main excuse for not storing their baby’s cord blood; “It is too expensive”. When they find out what the real cost is and all the options available, they are always shocked! The media and press have consistently reported that it cost many thousands of dollars, etc. The real truth is there are payment options as low as $19 per month!!!

CorCell has over 30 partners, many Insurance Institutions’ to whom they co-brand with to offer their member’s discounts. Often it is as much as 25% off the standard fee. I urge all families to do their research and call your Insurance carrier and inquire to see if they partner with CorCell to qualify.

If you are expecting or considering starting a family, think ahead and be prepared to protect one of the only things in life you can’t buy, your baby’s cord blood.

I have attached an article that clearly makes the bold incorrect statement about the cost of privately storing your baby’s cord blood.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/health/cord-blood-storage-aids-treatments-20111217-1ozxc.html

Together we can help save lives!

Happy Holiday,

Natalie Curry

 

 

Dec
0

Cord Blood Crystal Ball

When I read articles published by different organizations advising parents on the benefits of privately stored cord blood, I wonder how many of these professionals have ever been faced with a life threatening illness. Not to mention, feeling the regret of discarding something that was needed to treat them or a loved one!

Do they have a crystal ball they view life through? With over 70 diseases being treated, what doesn’t the future hold for adult stem cells? We already know that everyday stems cells are in the news with much promise for the future of medicine and scientific discoveries.

I urge all expectant parents to do their own research and consider the facts that you never know when you or your child might need theses priceless stem cells. By privately banking your child’s cord blood you have nothing to loose, by neglecting to, you have everything to loose.

It is very upsetting as a survivor to see cord blood be devalued; cord blood saved my life and the lives of many others. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend private cord blood storing. They say “parents should only consider it if a family member has a disease that could be treated with stem cell transplants”. The true facts that need to be considered, there are many diseases that don’t develop until later in life; therefore not storing the cord blood at birth because it may not be needed at the moment may be tempting fate. Also, what about the family that had 1 or 2 healthy children and didn’t privately store their baby’s cord blood but the last child has an illness that could have been cured with one of the healthy sibling’s cord blood?

If you have any questions regarding the benefits of cord blood banking, call CorCell’s help professionals @ 1-888-882-2673 or visit: http://www.corcell.com/; my personal choice for private cord blood banking.

Together we can help save lives!

Natalie Curry

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