Oct
0

Make Cord Blood Banking a Family Decision

Dr.O'Neill and I in Cord Blood Americas Lab

Dr.O'Neill and I in Cord Blood Americas Lab

This past week I had the honor to attend cord blood presentations along side of one of the nations most renowned physicians, Dr.O’Neill from Cord Blood America. I know I have written about him in the past and having the opportunity to work right along beside him was truly a blessing! His way with words, his charm and the way he can capture the attention of any size audience really inspired me.

I believe I know a lot about Cord Blood but I also believe that people can always learn more. While I was watching Dr.O’Neill give his presentations I felt over whelmed with even more knowledge of the power of stem cells and their never ending possibilities!

Perhaps one of the most astounding facts about cord blood stem cells is their capacity to help treat such a wide variety of people. When I say this I am referring to the fact that a baby’s cord blood guarantees a perfect match for that baby and can potentially help treat a parent, sibling and even an extended family member such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle. In Dr.O’Neill’s presentation he explains this with the help of the following chart:

Screen shot 2010-10-27 at 2.57.13 PM

In the above chart you can see how the children inherit genes from both the mother and the father. Science has proven that with a cord blood stem cell transplant a perfect HLA match is not required as it is with a bone marrow transplant. This means that the cord blood from a child doesn’t have to be an exact match to another member of the family in order to help treat them. For example: In this chart it shows that child 3 could potentially help treat the mother, father and others.

Cord blood stem cells are no longer thought to just help children, but adults as well. It is not just being used to treat life threatening disorders but also injuries and conditions such as blindness. There are many conditions that are still considered to be in the clinical trial phase and it is only a matter of time before stem cells are being used to treat common medical conditions.

Save your baby’s cord blood! You can’t go back and get it later, it is a tremendous life saving resource for your entire family. Make it a FAMILY decision.

Together We Can Help Save lives,

Natalie Curry

May
9

How Cord Blood Saved My life, TWICE!

Me enjoying my life on the streets of Puerto Rico

Me enjoying my life on the streets of Puerto Rico

I am excited to report possibly the most exciting research I have found to date…

As you probably already know my sisters cord blood saved my life in 1989. What you may not know is that this cord blood helped save my life again in 2006.  When my sister donated her kidney for my kidney transplant something extra special happened. Since receiving the cord blood transplant her kidney couldn’t tell the difference from her body to mine! The truly amazing part besides having a perfect donor, is that unlike all other transplant recipients, I do not and never will  have to take ANY medication associated with transplantation. This has helped provide me with a much higher quality of life.  As there are several medications involved with numerous life altering side effects.

Why I’m so excited:

I just read an article about how scientist are performing research at this time to essentially perform bone marrow/ cord blood transplants simultaneously with kidney transplants from the same donor.  I am living proof that this works and it is only a matter of time before more and more people will be given this same opportunity. To read more about this research please check out this article: http://allaboutcordblood.com/whats_new/cordblood_news/15

I am lucky just to say I’m a survivor of a cord blood transplant but I am even luckier to say that cord blood helped save my life more than once!

So please join m in my efforts to raise awareness about this incredible cause!

Together We Can Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Jan
1

Education is the Key

Save A Life, Save The Cord

Save A Life, Save The Cord

My story begins when I was diagnosed at 1 year old with Fanconi’s Anemia, a rare fatal blood disorder. Without a matching donor for a bone marrow transplant, I would likely be dead before my 10th birthday. However, my parents would not accept this fate for me, and conceived two children, in the hopes that the bone marrow of a sibling would be a suitable match. On their second try they conceived my younger sister Emily, she was a perfect match and my hope for survival. About six months into the pregnancy mom went into pre-term labor. The fate of my future and Emily’s was in grave danger, doctors placed her on strict bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy. Now mom not only had the fear of loosing me but the fear of loosing Emily as well. Determined to be as prepared as possible mom spent most of her time on bed rest educating herself about my disease, what to expect as a new mom, and most importantly what events took place in the delivery room.

After reading about umbilical cords, she was left asking ,”what do they do with the cord after they clamp it?” She immediately contacted my doctors to find out if the blood found inside the umbilical cord could help treat my disease? At the time,this procedure had never been performed before. The doctors response was ” who told you about this” Once they were in agreement that saving Emily’s cord blood to use for my transplant, may in fact be better than Emily’s bone marrow, my parents and doctors began making preparations to save Emily’s cord blood at the time of her birth. Emily was born through a scheduled c-section, doctors from all around the US came to witness what would soon save my life and change the medical field forever. Emily’s cord blood was the first to be collected and made medical history! Not only was he transplant was a HUGE success, but it has helped to pave the way for thousands and thousands of cord blood transplants. While you are pregnant it is VERY important that you educate yourself about all of the important decisions you will need to make. Saving cord blood is a ONCE in a lifetime opportunity, but can give you peace of mind FOREVER!

-Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have regarding cord blood!

Together We Can Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Jan
6

Brothers and Sisters and A New Lease on Life

Kitty McAllister's wedding day

Kitty McAllister's wedding day

Everyday brings me inspiration, but sometimes something extra special happens that really touches my heart. While watching the most recent episode of ABC’s hit television show Brother’s and Sister’s, I was brought to tears. This season of the show has had one of the biggest plot lines yet.  One of the shows leading ladies,Kitty McAllister, played by actress Calista Flockheart,  is diagnosed with stage three Lymphoma (fatal form of cancer).

When the chemo treatments fail to cure Kitty, her doctors suggest that her best chance for survival is a bone marrow transplant.  Soon after the search for a match begins they discover her half brother is in deed a match. Kitty undergoes the dangerous procedure and is in remission from her cancer.

The type of cancer Kitty suffered from is treatable with stem cells. The same stem cells found in cord blood.

The show gives a realistic portrayal of what a family goes through in a medical tragedy, in the words of Kitty McAllister:

Mom, cancer free! “Mom you got to do it all,you got to take us to school, you got to watch us grow up, you got to see us get married, I want to do it all, I want to live”

“What if I never see him again? Oh God I’m scared.”

“I can’t even believe it, I’m going to get to see him go to pre-school!”

While this show had a happy ending, unfortunately so many people are not as lucky.  Saving the cord is literally saving a life, the stem cells inside are so priceless. If you missed the last episode of Brother’s and Sister’s I encourage you to watch it. It will tug at your heart strings, but  it will leave you with a new understanding about how fragile life really is.

Don’t take your life for granite!  Please help spread the word about cord blood preservation!

Together We Can Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Jul
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