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
0

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

Mar
0

With Love

I know you are probably familiar with the Movie and or Play called “Rent” and it’s very popular and  highly emotional anthem. “Seasons of Love”.  I hadn’t heard it in a while and was listening to it on repeat today. It really makes you think about what is really important in your life!  It’s theme is all about measuring your life in love. With all of the amazing opportunities people have today,  I feel like sometimes the important things get taken for granted.

Don’t waste your life doing things that make you unhappy, and do all of the things you have dreamed about doing in your wildest dreams.  Don’t let not one day go by without telling those special people that you love them because you never know what could happen tomorrow.  Everyone has tough times and when that happens put that smile back on your face, pick your self up and keep going. Remember that nothing great ever comes easy and that YOU create your own happiness.

I just wanted to share with you what I was feeling today and hope that you will feel the same way. The world can be a scary place, but if you have the gift of  LOVE then together you can face all of your biggest fears!

With LOVE,

Natalie

Sep
1

From Here to Maternity Radio Show

Please show your support by tuning into this live radio show tomorrow morning. I will be the guest for an entire hour and the discussion will be all about cord blood!

markovits-player.jpg

http://www.voiceamerica.com/voiceamerica/vepisode.aspx?aid=48646

Sep
5

The Ride to far Away

Justin and I on the Caribbean Cruise

Justin and I on the Caribbean Cruise

I want to share with you a story that will be found in my upcoming book.

“The Ride To Far Away”

The year was 1989 and one family traveled to the distant place of Paris, France. One dad, one mom, one grandma and two sisters embarked upon what would be the trip of a lifetime.  When I was four years old we went to Paris for my cord blood transplant. “Why Paris” you ask? Paris had more experience with transplants of this kind and had much higher success rates. I don’t recall much of my families trip to Paris but there is one event that has never escaped my mind. In the US my mom was always with me, she was at every test, and every doctors visit. Of course I was only an infant and in the US it was very common for parents to be with their children 100% of the time.

I’ll never forget when the day had come for me to receive my radiation. This was the day that would determine weather I would be traveling home in a coffin or in the comfort of my moms arms. The radiation treatment was going to take place in a different hospital across town. Mom had made preparations to go with me to receive my treatment. When the morning arrived for us to leave the doctors informed her she would NOT be going with me,and that it was against there protocol.

With this news mom became very upset.  She knew that this could be the last time she got to give me a hug and a kiss and tell me she loved me. She knew that this could be the last time she ever saw me alive. With this huge reality sinking in the once invincible woman sat down on the edge of my hospital bed and began to cry. Up to this point in my life I had never seen her cry.

Very early in my life, practically as soon as I could talk, my Grandma J taught me how to pray. She would say “lets talk to Jesus.” We’d get down on our knees, fold our hands and close our eyes. We would pray of happy things,  to make every body safe and we would pray for my sisters at home, whom I missed so much.

When mom sat down and began to cry, I didn’t cry and I wasn’t scared. I simply said “Mommy they can keep you from going, but they can never keep Jesus from going and holding my hand.”

Mom didn’t get to go with me that day. And as you already know the radiation was a success. Now I am sitting here today very much enjoying my life! None of this would have been possible without my family and the miracle found inside of Emily’s Cord Blood.

When I was 12 I wrote a poem about this experience.

“The Ride To far Away”

It’s only ten hour away
when the men with the white coats
will come to take me away from my Mommy.
As I watch her cry I try to be a big girl.
I feel sad and I wonder is she trying to tell me goodbye ?
She tells me she can’t go with me
and hold me hand tomorrow when they take me to get that thing
they call radiation.
I listen to her words but all I notice is that sad look on her face.
She tells me they won’t let her go with me
on the ride to far away. She says it will be hard
because the men in the white coats all speak a different way
she says I won’t understand but then I stop her I guess she forgot
“Mommy they can keep you from coming but they can never keep
Jesus from going and holding my hand”
as they rolled me away I felt a big hug
then I heard Mommy say “Jesus take care of my baby”

There is more of this story and many others that can be found in my new upcoming book.

PLEASE let me know what you think!!

You can help raise awareness of cord blood preservation by tweeting on twitter, updating your status on facebook and spreading the word to everyone you know.

Together We CAN Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Jul
0

“The Dull Razor”

Over the last couple of months, I have been writing  a book about my families couragous medical journeys and how cord blood saved my life.  Now  I have something very exciting that I’d like to share with you.  The following is part of one of the many stories that will be in the book!

-The Shaving Day-

 ……………One afternoon while grandma was with me, a nurse came into my laminair flow room holding only a sterile but dull razor.  She had come to shave  all of my hair off.  I remember sitting in the middle of my hospital  bed with tears rolling down my face while grandma held on to me tight. I wasn’t afraid or sad, I was in pain. My scalp began to feel like it was on fire! As grandma watched pieces of my dark hair hit the ground she felt sorrow in that she couldn’t ease the pain it was causing. The burning presisted long after all of my hair was gone.  A few days prior I had received a low dose of Chemo therapy to treat the bad cells in my blood.  In an effort to prevent  having  my hair gradually fall out,  the nurses felt it best to shave it off.

When Dad arrived at the hospital later and noticed what had happened, he was extremely angry! He was upset that no one had infomed him they were going to shave my head.  Not only that, but he was even more furious that they didn’t use any shaving cream or water.  He confronted the nursing and staff and as he says ”They understood all of my AMERICAN curse words!” In the days following the shaving I developed a rash on my head.  Dad says I looked just as cute with a bald head.  But that seeing it reinforced that everything was really happening.  He wanted me to have a normal childhood and knew that he had to keep a positive attitude and that one day I would………………

 More of this story and many others can be found in the completed book.

July is Cord Blood Awareness month. Together we can help save lives! You can help by tweeting on titter, updating your status on facebook and spreading the word to everyone you know!

Your opinions are very important to me.  I welcome you to share your thoughts!  This is just part of my story! I am working on writing my book now and hope to be finished within the next few months.

Together We CAN Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Jun
3

What would you do if you found out your child was going to die?

Aticle from Womans Day Magazine, 1991

Article from Womans Day Magazine, 1991

Twenty four years ago my parents were faced with a heart wrenching reality. Doctors told them I was going to die.

Doctors told my parents that my ONLY chance for survival was for them to conceive a perfect match sibling.  But not to bother because:

  • The  chances of that happening were virtualy ZERO.
  • Most importantly,  they didn’t have time to conceive a perfect match because I would die before that even happened.
  • There was a 25% chance that any future children would also have Fanconi Anemia and also die!

Have you ever wanted to do something and had everyone telling you don’t do that, even though in your heart you knew it was the right thing to do?  If so, then you can begin to understand how hard it was for my parents to move forward and try and conceive again for only a SMALL chance at saving my life.

Even after making the decision, they were STILL confronted with HARSH criticism and were told that conceiving a child to save another was morally wrong.  My parents decison to have more children saved my life. They had more children, not because they needed them for spare parts, but because they had LOVE.  My mom has always said that if I would have died she wanted to have peace in her heart knowing that she did everything she could to save me.

Too many people place judgment upon parents who have a child to save another. So to those people: Imagine looking into your child’s eyes and knowing there is a chance they may NOT make it to high school? Can you imagine knowing there was a chance they would NOT be able to fall in love. Can you imagine theres a chance they will not grow up and start a family of their own? Can you imagine the feeling of not knowing what day could be there last?

Is there anything you WOULDN’T do?

Together We CAN Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Jun
18

My Sister's Keeper…..The TRUE story!

My Keepers....Audrey and Emily!

My Keepers....Audrey and Emily!

This weekend is the release of the much  anticipated movie, “My Sister’s Keeper”. The movie is based on the very popular book, “My Sister’s Keeper” written by Jodi Picoult. This story is very close to my story, the only difference; mine is TRUE! If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if “My Sister’s Keeper”  was based on my family’s story I’d be a millionaire by now!!  ”My Sister’s Keeper” is practicaly IDENTICAL to our story :

  • The main character and I were both terminally ill at a young age. We both suffered from renal failure and blood disaeases.
  • We were both lucky enough to have  parents that would do anything to keep us alive!
  • We both had countless surgeries.

BUT the biggest difference is that my sister Emily was not genetically designed , she was a miracle.  She was born a complete match, not by science but by pure chance. She never complained or even hesitated to help, and thats what makes her a true hero! She was destined to be my keeper, and when I count my blessings I count her twice!   Both stories have one huge underlying theme: family.  Without a strong, close and loving family, I wouldn’t be here today!

“My Sisters courage”, my “Mothers strength” and “my Fathers hope” are the words that run across the screen during the previews for the film. Every time I see this, I feel a tug at my heart strings.  I can’t help but feel very emotional! It is a very bittersweet feeling: I feel happy that more people will be educated on these issues, while  at the same time ,I feel a little disappointment that more people won’t realize how real this is.

There will be THINGS  in life that’ll make you happy, TIMES in life you will  never forget, but it’s the PEOPLE in your life that will  ALWAYS matter the most!

Together We CAN Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

May
4

Wishful thinking or Destiny?

sweet revenge

Justin, me, Jeff and Mom at Sweet Revenge in NYC.....enjoying amazing cupcakes!

 

 

Earlier this week while I was on my lunch break I read a very touching newspaper article that my dad mailed to me. It was a story about a little girl who suffers from A plastic anemia and is now recovering.  Her wish was to attend the Kentucky Derby and Oaks horse races. Thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation her dreams came true. I was very inspired by her amazing story. I was once again reminded how much I want to help sick children and there families.

I feel like I’m doing what I can, but it’s not enough! I am very confident that my purpose in life is to help others especially children and those going through medical obstacles. Sometimes I get frustrated that I can’t do more, and that I can’t just reach out to all of them and give them hope. I am constantly brainstorming on ways that I can make a widespread impact. Every time I end up with the same answer, a book.  And though I am pursuing that avenue as aggressively as possible I almost feel like there’s something I’m just missing.  Something that I’m so close to I can feel it!

I don’t know……. it’s a hard feeling to describe but it’s deep in my heart. Sometimes I begin to wonder if I am just dreaming too big of dream. It’s hard to tell if it’s just wishful thinking or if it really is my destiny?! One thing is for sure, I will NOT give up!

Together We CAN Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

May
1

Nice Note

natalie and Emily

Emily and I on her 21st Birthday

Natalie, I just wanted to tell you directly how much your story inspired and amazed me. And how strong you were at such a young age. And i’m sure you hear that everyday but i truly think your story is amazing.

 What Emily did is one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard. People keep asking me what I’m writing for my paper and I keep telling them about this really cool story about how a little sister saved her older sisters life. It is the craziest story I have ever heard.

Last night when I was checking my Facebook, I was pleased to find the above note in my inbox! It was sent to me by a high school senior who is writing a research paper about Stem Cells. I had a long conversation with her and was very happy to find out how interested she was in stem cells and all the potential that they have.

She is the second person I know this year who has done a project for school about stem cells/cord blood! This makes me very excited to know that more and more people are learning about this topic.

Together We CAN Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

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