For more than 15 years, ViaCord has been proud to provide families the option to privately store their newborn’s umbilical cord blood for potential use in a medical treatment. Over the years we’ve seen many families in need of a stem cell treatment turn to the cord blood stem cells they’ve banked with us. At the beginning of 2011, ViaCord released its 200th cord blood unit to help treat a child with cerebral palsy. This milestone gave us a chance to reflect on the advancements cord blood stem cells have made in medical applications over the past two decades – from being used to treat just one disease twenty years ago, to nearly 80 today; as well as being studied by scientists in the area of regenerative medicine. It also made us think of the faces, the hearts and the family stories behind the 200 number.
Let’s take a look back at some of the heartwarming ViaCord family stories from 2011…
The Page Family and Baby Harlow’s Journey
Parents Jamie and Ben decided to save their daughter Harlow’s cord bloodwith ViaCord “just in case”, not ever thinking they would need it just months later. At only four months old, doctors discovered a “grapefruit sized mass” in their daughter Harlow’s stomach. As treatment options were discussed, the Pages wondered if the stem cells from Harlow’s cord blood could be used to treat her aggressive cancer. Ultimately Jamie and Ben’s decision to bank Harlow’s cord blood provided them with an additional medical resource for Harlow when it came time to treat her tumor. You can read about the Page Family’s journey here.
ViaCord parents Julie and Jason reinforce their decision to bank
When parents Julie and Jason heard about a research study re-infusing children with their own cord blood stem cells to help treat cerebral palsy, they were thankful they’d saved their daughter’s just years before. Rebecca was born with a neurological impairment that makes it difficult for her to speak or use her limbs. Though Julie and Jason were hopeful the cord blood stem cell infusion would help improve Rebecca’s condition, they have yet to see much progress. Nevertheless, they remain positive and have no regrets about their decision to bank cord blood. As Julie told us, “I encourage all my pregnant friends to save the cord blood because you honestly never know. There are so many successes out there due to stem cell studies, how can you not do it?” Read Rebecca’s story here
Saving a Sibling’s Cord Blood – Grateful for the Option
Madilynn was just 6 months old when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Aggressive chemotherapy treatment began quickly and one month after Madilynn’s diagnosis, her mother Tasha learned she was pregnant with her second child. Tasha’s OB/GYN suggested that Tasha enroll in ViaCord’s Sibling Connection Program to have her son, Liam’s cord blood stem cells saved as a potential medical resource that could help treat Maddie in the future. Luckily, Maddie responded well to eight months of chemotherapy and her brother’s cord blood stem cells have not been needed. Tasha is so thankful for Maddie’s health and for having Liam’s cord blood stem cells stored with ViaCord, just in case. You can read about Tasha’s experience here.
Of course we hope our ViaCord families will never need to use their banked stem cells, but the value in having them available for a family as a potential medical treatment option is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Taking a look back at the family stories of 2011 strengthens our resolve in 2012 to raise awareness about cord blood banking so more families whose lives could potentially be changed by a cord blood stem cell treatment have the chance to decide if cord blood banking is right for them.