Oct
0

October 6th 1989

Mom and I

Mom and I

During my transplant in Paris France, my mom kept a very personal diary about everything from what medications I was on to what her emotions were each day! This diary is very personal to her and she rarely shares any of it. I have not even been allowed to read it!

Today people all over the world people celebrated Stem Cell Awareness day. There has been a tremendous amount of progress made in the cord blood/stem cell industry in the past 20 years! None of this progress would have been possible without the courage of my parents and my mothers determination.

On what is now celebrated as stem cell awareness day, October 6th 1989, my mom wrote the following diary entry:

(These are her exact words as they appear in her diary)

Well…, I guess they did discuss us leaving and maybe on Tuesday, October 10th, 1989..day 26, we can go to our apartment. This made us all very happy. On Saturday (tomorrow) they will cap off her central line and discontinue the IV therapy and see how she does? IF she has a good weekend they will give her platelets on Monday from Daddy and we might leave on Tuesday? We changed all of the Airline Tickets today.

We want Daddy to get home for the girls. Norma Funk called Natalie today what a surprise! This made her happy, she said “Norma called me all the way from Grandma Jacobs House, can you believe that?” How cute! Now….we get to start counting the days we have left in the hospital.

A mothers love can move mountains and holds a remarkable power! When you think about cord blood stem cells please think of my mom who had the courage to start it all!

Together We Can Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Aug
4

Leukemia and Cord Blood

Steve Shor and I Last Week

Steve Shor and I Last Week

It is estimated that  45,000 people will be diagnosed with leukemia this year, and approximately, 22,000 deaths in the US will be attributed to Leukemia.   This terrible heart wrenching disease does not only affect a certain age, gender, or race.  It is blind to its victims and has many different types. Many of you are probably thinking that leukemia affects more children than adults. The truth according to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is that it affects more adults past the age of 60, than children.

Luckily the stem cells found inside your baby’s cord blood can help treat and cure many forms of leukemia. Due to cord blood’s unique, naive immune system, it does not need to be as closely matched to the patient and therefore doctors can identify a cord blood donor in approximately 99% of patients who can’t find a conventional donor.

Cord blood is readily available as it is collected at the time of birth and then stored until future use. This can help cut back on the amount of time searching for a match.In blood diseases such as leukemia TIME is of the essence and every second counts.

I am baffled by these facts and am determined to help ensure everyone realizes the benefits of cord blood.  I am not alone in this journey. Last week I had the privilege to meet (again) with the President of the National Children’s Leukemia Foundation (NCLF) , Mr.Shor.  At their foundation they also realize the importance of cord blood preservation and are working to raise educational awareness.  This generous foundation is one of the leading non profit organizations in the battle against cancer and leukemia in children and adults.

This foundation has been one that is near and dear to my heart for a very long time. In 1993, I met Mr. Shor for the first time when my Mom was asked to speak at their conference in New York. My entire family traveled to New York for the big event where we got to meet  supermodel Cindy Crawford, actress Susan Lucci, and many, many others. This was when I was first introduced to the world of public speaking. My sisters, Dad and I all stood by my Mom’s side on stage as she delivered her speech.  Although I was very young, I will never forget looking into the crowd and watching as tears rolled across people’s faces. That was the beginning, that was when I realized that I wanted to help too! So now I am looking forward to being able to follow in my moms footsteps, by being reconnected with NCLF.

Mom Speaking in New York at NCLF Event

Mom Speaking in New York at NCLF Event

“Each year, more than 4 million children are born in the US. If every childbearing woman chose to collect and store cord blood, millions of lives could be saved.” – NCLF

To learn more about NCLF:http: //www.leukemiafoundation.org/

To learn more about Leukemia:http: //www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/hm_lls

Please help spread the word!

Together We Can Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Jun
4

Be A Hero- Become A Donor Foundation

Me, Gina and Carolyn

Me, Gina and Carolyn

After I read about families who are suffering through devastating diseases I can be found sobbing for hours in the darkness of my room. I feel the pain right through to my bones as my heart seems to sink to the pit of my stomach. It is in these times that I really understand that my family has been one of the lucky ones, I realize why I’m still here and I vow to myself to never give up and to keep on fighting.

To keep fighting for all the pain they have or will have to endure. I truly believe that everyone deserves to have the same chances I have received. And I will not stop until Cord Blood becomes a household name and is known in every country, hospital, and physicians office.

Earlier this month I had the honor of traveling to southern California and Las Vegas to promote cord blood awareness along side of Cord Blood America. In this journey I met some wonderful people and learned more then I even imagined possible.

I would like to share with you an extremely brave and passionate person I met on this trip. I sympathize with her and her beautiful family as they lost a dear loved one, a son, a brother and a sparkling spirit in Evan Cousineau. Evan lost his battle one day short of his 10th birthday and when I met his mother Gina it was clear he is still very much alive in her. Learn about Evans story- http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/evancousineau/mystory

It is stories like Evans that keep me fighting, it is mothers like Gina that I cry for and wish I could take away the pain. In honor of Evan, Gina has started a wonderful foundation- Be A Hero-Become A Donor Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to encourage people to donate blood on a regular basis. Gina is in hopes that the foundation will help provide a since of hope for other families struggling with a medical crisis. Please help support Gina and her family on their incredible life saving mission visit: http://bahbad.org/home/

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

Feb
16

Private Practice and Cord Blood

Cast from Private Practice
Cast from Private Practice

Life is unfair, and often times we have to make decisions even when deciding seems virtually impossible.  We have to do what we feel is the best, what will benefit the most and will disappoint the least.

The most recent episode of ABC’s Private Practice had a perfect example of lifes unfair choices. Not only did this choice nearly tear a family apart, but it was a matter of life and death.  A young couple genetically conceives a perfect HLA match donor for their eight year old twin daughters who are both in the fatal stage Leukemia.

The girls are fading quickly and in desperate need of a transplant. The parents had the baby knowing  that they planned to use the babies cord blood to immediately cure the girls. It isn’t until after the cord blood is collected that the true tragedy strikes. Due to a low cell count in the cord blood, there is only enough to treat one twin. This terrible news leaves the parents with an unbearable decision. They must choose which girl will receive the cord blood and will survive, and in turn leave the other to succumb to her disease.

The parents choice becomes a little easier one one twin becomes very ill and weak, and at this point a cord blood transplant isn’t only a risk but is likely not help. At the end after several touching family moments, one twin is given a second chance at life with a cord blood transplant.

Deciding to save your babies cord blood will be one of the most important decisions you will ever make.  It is a form of biological life insurance for your family, so save the cord, save a life!

Together We CAN Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Jan
9

The Heroes in your Life

Dr. Cairo and I at the Tri-State Pediatric Blood Club Dinner

Dr. Cairo and I at the Tri-State Pediatric Cord Blood Club Dinner

In your life, if you are lucky you will have a hero, or maybe a few.  Someone who will always have a special place in your heart, and will be someone you can admire for a lifetime.  I consider myself one of the lucky ones.  My entire life I have been blessed with having the best heroes of all; my family and wonderful doctors.

This week I was given the opportunity to meet two of the medical fields most renowned physicians, when I was invited to attend the Tri-State Pediatric Cord Blood Club Dinner.

Dr. Cairo- The Chief of the Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine and Pathology of Columbia University. Dr.Cairo’s dream is to further research and find cures for childhood cancers, blood disorders and immune deficiencies.  Among Dr.Cairo’s extensive credentials is his passion to save lives with the use stem cells.  His pioneering visions have helped to lead the medical field and the incredible use of stem cells to where they are today and where they will be tomorrow.  To learn more about Dr.Cairo and his astonishing accomplishments visit: http://www.dream-discover-cure.org/files/discover.php

“It is a gift of life, a very precious commodity used to cure patients.” Dr. Cairo, on the importance of cord blood preservation.

Dr. Kurtzberg- As the, Director of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Program and Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology at Duke University, Dr.Kurtzberg has been on the forefront of the medical field for decades. As a leader in the cord blood and stem cell industry, she personally performed the first unrelated cord blood transplant. She, along with her group at Duke University have performed more cord blood transplants than any other group.  Her desire and dedication to expand knowledge of cord blood and stem cells sets her apart from other scientist. More recently Dr. Kurtzberg  was responsible for one of greatest medical breakthroughs to date; by using stem cells to treat cerebral palsy.

“All of the children I take care of come to us as a last hope, but they have incredible wills to live. I am inspired everyday by the families and the children themselves who I treat.”- Dr.Kurtzberg

It was such an honor to attend this prestigious event and to be surrounded by some of the worlds greatest heroes, the Doctors.  I am VERY grateful to say that without amazing medical professionals such as Dr. Cairo and Kurtzberg, I and many others wouldn’t be alive today. So to them I say, thank you!

Take time to notice the heroes in your life,  and you will realize they are all around you!

Together We CAN Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Dec
2

Cord Blood Highlights 2009

Snow in Central Park

Snow in Central Park

This year has been one of the most fulfilling years of my life.  It has given me the opportunity of a lifetime; a chance to help save lives through raising awareness of cord blood preservation! It has brought new people into my life, taken me through the adventures of a new city and taught me what life is really about.  Looking back on 2009, I am thrilled with all of the progress that was made in the cord blood industry.

Some of the highlights made with cord blood in 2009:

  • Opening of more cord blood banks
  • Unrelated and miss matching HLA typing cord blood transplants
  • Save The cord Foundation made their film debut in Dream documentary, introducing cord blood to the entertainment industry
  • Cord blood treats patients suffering from Cerebral Palsy
  • President Obama approves more tax funding for stem cell research

There is no doubt that 2009 was a successful year and with you help 2010 is sure to be even better!

Looking Ahead
May the New Year bring you blessings
You’ve never had before.
And the future standing before you
and open wide the door.
May the past failures be forgotten
as you go your way
and stumbling blocks you fell upon
become stepping stones today.
When your faith is being tested
may peace abide within.
When you must fight life’s battles
you truly have to win.
May the New Year take you places
you have wanted to go
and guardian angels guard you
as you travel to and fro.
May your friends always support you
In all you say and do
and your memories remind you
of those who love you too.
May 2010 be fruitful in each and every way.
May the New Year bring you blessings
and answered prayers each day.
Happy New Year!
Natalie Curry
Dec
0

When It comes to Cord Blood Father Knows Best

Dad and I at a Fundraiser for my Cord Blood Transplant 1989

Dad and I at a Fundraiser for my Cord Blood Transplant 1989

When it came to making important decisions about my health, my parents made the perfect team. One crucial decision was on weather or not to save Emily’s cord blood for my transplant. My dad recalls this decision and wants to share his experiences of being a father with a sick child.

In My Fathers Words:
I have been asked several times the advice I could give for parents/ dads that are faced with making a decision to save Cord Blood. I remember how ecstatic I was to find out that we had the possibility to save Natalie ‘s life by saving Emily’s cord blood.   I would suggest to research the pros and cons with any medical procedure.  However I cannot imagine any downside to saving the cord blood.
I think it is helpful to  have open discussions with family and Dr’s ( at the same meeting if possible) it helps everyone stay on the same page and provides comfort for each others possible fears. Come up with a game plan, continue to ask any questions you may have, there are no stupid questions. Have a clear leader / captain in your plan. Find the medical team and plan you trust,  believe in it and go forward.  Again I do not know of any down side or negatives from saving cord blood. Natalie is all the proof I need.
Brad Curry
Please help spread the word about cord blood preservation.
Nov
24

Using Cord Blood to Treat Cerebral Palsy

Toddlergirl2Today I received a reader request. A parent wrote to me requesting information about Cerebral Palsy and the breakthroughs involving cord blood. After reading the extremely touching story about her son and his struggles with CP, I felt compelled to address the issue. 

According to the center for disease control and prevention, approx 10,000 babies per year in the US will develop cerebral palsy (CP). Cerebral Palsy is a very debilitating disease that affects the brains ability to control the body.  CP has many symptoms; weak muscles, inability to walk, uncontrollable movement and jerking among many others.

Victims of CP are often confined to a wheel chair, or form of walking assistance. Until recently there was NO cure for CP, only treatments to improve the condition. 

HUGE BREAKTHROUGH:

In 2008 scientist at Duke University made an astonishing discovery. They began using the stem cells found inside a babies umbilical cord blood to treat CP. In an experimental procedure they infused CP patients with stem cells in hopes of repairing the brain damage.  Patients had incredible results and started showing signs of improvement just days after the procedure. To learn about how cord blood helped CP patient, three year old Chole Levine visit: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,573265,00.html

Everyday scientist are learning more and more about the life saving value of stem cells. The number of medical conditions treatable/curable with stem cells is increasing rapidly! The future of medicine is HERE: CORD BLOOD, is and will continue to save lives.

Cord blood banking is an investment worth making! You never know what could happen, but saving the cord can give you a priceless gift,  peace of mind!

Together We Can Help Save Lives,

Natalie Curry

Oct
33

Article about MY Blog!!

This is an article that was reccently written about my blog! It is so nice to see that people are learning from all of my writing! This brings the biggest smile to my face!

Kind Words:

A colleague recently discovered an interesting blog. Natalie Curry was the first U.S. citizen to receive a cord blood stem cell transplant. Born in 1985, suffering from Fanconi Anemia, Natalie needed a stem cell transplant. Unable to fine an HLA match through bone marrow, her parents decided to conceive another child as a potential match. Natalie’s first sister was not a match, but her second sister was a perfect HLA match.

Cord blood had not been approved yet in the US for treatment of Fanconi Anemia so Natalie’s family moved to France for a stem cell transplant. After 3 months, they returned to the U.S. with her stem cell tranplant a success.

Check out Natalie’s blog to learn more about her journey. She also shares the latest news in the stem cell industry and some of her insights about the world around her

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