Nov
0

A Thanksgiving Wish

My good friend Dr.O’Neill from Cord Blood America wrote this VERY touching article: I am so blessed to have so many amazing people in my life! Thank you to my friends Dr.O’Neill and Erin Tecca for having the courage to jump for this important cause! This Holiday season give a gift of meaning… make a donation in honor of all of your friends and family!


CBAI Gives Back
Taking the Plunge for a Good Cause

It has been almost 35 years since I came to New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from Scotland as a Visiting Fellow to gain experience in the developing medical specialty of bone marrow transplantation. Almost four decades later, we have seen the introduction of peripheral blood stem cell and cord blood transplants being used commonly in the treatment of malignant and genetic disease. As this field now evolves into the new specialty of Cellular Therapy and Regenerative Medicine, I now realize that one of the few benefits of aging is not only that I may myself benefit one day from these evolving therapies, but more importantly, it has allowed me to put my career journey somewhat into perspective.

I was 25 when I came to New York and the city offered a young “chap” excitement and opportunity. At that time, I met a young Hematology/Oncology Fellow from South Africa, who, to this day, is one of my closest friends. Back in 1976, to celebrate the U.S. Bicentennial, he invited me to go with him to Johannesburg, not only to see the animal life, but also skydive, since his family operated that business there. I eagerly agreed, although I must confess, I had grave concerns about landing in the African bush full of lions. Unfortunately, I was unable to go at the last minute, and since then I have always had the nagging desire to “jump”. President George H. Bush jumps every year, so I thought why don’t I just do it! I am not 25 anymore, but neither is President Bush and so I recently decided to “take the plunge” in Hawaii this coming December 12th. As the event gets closer, however, I find my fear factor increasing and have considered backing out.

Getting back to stem cells and disease…I recently undertook speaking engagements for Cord Blood America, throughout the U.S., on the importance of cord blood collection for use in stem cell therapies. I had the privilege of working with a member of our Business Development Team, Ms. Lea Ann Stiller, whose daughter, Natalie, has Fanconi anemia, a rare and fatal hereditary disease. Natalie’s sister Emily’s cord blood was the very first cord blood collection and in 1989, Natalie was the first female to receive a cord blood transplant. Cord blood transplantation was new and the outcome was uncertain but Natalie’s transplant was a success and a major breakthrough. Natalie is now 25 and continues to do well.

In medicine, we tend to think that it is solely the physicians and scientists that drive the introduction of such new treatments, but after spending time with Lea Ann and Natalie, it became clear to me that these families, due to their unwillingness to let their children die, have actually themselves, through their courage and determination, paved the way for the almost 20,000 cord blood transplants that have occurred to date.
At the same time, I also had the privilege of meeting the delivery nurse, Ms. Janice Gibbs from Norton’s Hospital in Louisville, KY, who collected the cord blood for this historic procedure and who still feels the “power” of that important day.

My fear of jumping out of a plane pales in terms of Lea Ann’s fear of losing her child. To overcome my own fear, I decided, therefore, to jump to increase awareness about Fanconi anemia through the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, www.fanconi.org, and hopefully raise some needed funds for research. I am excited to do this and grateful that I was able to put the past years in perspective and truly understand why we do what we do. It’s not just about me anymore, but something more meaningful and for that I am thankful.

To make a donation to the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund follow this link www.fanconi.org/index.php/donate and let them know that you are donating on behalf of my sky diving jump on Dec 12th.

To all the Natalies of the world, this is for you.

To my colleague and friend, Erin Tecca, my thanks for your free spirit in joining me on the jump for this cause.

To my colleagues and friends at Cord Blood America Inc and our International Affiliates, I thank you for your support.

To our many investors, I hope this story tells another side of what Cord Blood America is all about. We work hard for you, but we work even harder for those who may benefit from these stem cell treatments.

My best wishes to all of our readers for the upcoming holiday season. I shall keep you updated.

Dr. Geoffrey O’Neill, VP of Operations, CorCell/Cord Blood America

For more information please visit the following sites:

Fanconi Anemia www.fanconi.org and to make donations www.fanconi.org/index.php/donate
Natalie Curry www.allaboutcordblood.com and www.nataliecurry.com
Saving Baby’s Cord Blood www.corcell.com

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

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