A Melbourne mother is imploring other parents to store cord blood following the birth of their children, after it saved the life of her son.
Dani says the decision that she and her partner Pete made in 2006, to store the cord blood of their first child Jasper, was possibly the smartest of their lives. It would eventually prove a lifesaver for their second son, Miles.
When they were expecting their first child, the couple attended a parenting and baby expo, where they gathered information on Cryosite, a private cord blood bank.
“Collecting and storing the cord blood from the placenta at birth meant that our babies could benefit from stem cell advancements in the future. Stem cells are cells in the blood or bone marrow that are capable of producing all mature blood cells including both red and white blood cells and platelets,” says Dani.
She says the couple felt that storing the cord blood was an insurance policy for the future health of their children.
In 2009, when the couple’s second child Miles was just 10 months old, the family received the devastating news that Miles had a rare form of leukaemia known as Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukaemia – the only treatment is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.
While the family was being tested to see who could donate their bone marrow, the couple told doctors that they’d stored both Jasper’s and Miles’ cord blood. Doctors confirmed it was a huge plus, and could prove a boost to Miles’ chances of survival.
When it was confirmed that Jasper was a match for Miles, it meant his stored cord blood could be used to treat his brother, Miles. Dani says, “Having the cord blood meant Miles would have a pure source to go to transplant with, reducing the likelihood of infection post transplant. We had the ‘golden ticket’ to give Miles the best possible chance of survival!”
Here’s how Dani describes the day her little boy had his transplant:
“I could not breathe. There was no turning back. Please God let things be okay. The Cryosite representative turned up with the bag of what simply looked like blood. There were lots of formal checks and sign offs, then before we knew it, the transplant was up and running. It looked just like a blood transfusion. I remember sitting in the cot with Miles on the day as the transfusion took place praying, ‘Please Jasper, fix him’.”
There was a long, 120 day wait to see if Miles’ little body would reject the transplant.
“Miles had his up and down days, but overall with the cord blood and our quarantine boot camp, we were extremely lucky to avoid any major infections through the transplant period. It was fantastic. Miles was recovering extremely well.”
Dani says Miles is now doing very well, and continues to take daily oral chemo and one other medication – down from more than 45 medications he started on.
“We have learnt over this last 15 months, to take life one day at a time and that there is nothing more important than family and no one really knows what is around the corner. Appreciate every second!”
Dani is using her story to call on others to become bone marrow donors, and for new parents to store their children’s cord blood.
Cryosite was Australia’s first private cord blood blank, established in 2002, and the first family cord blood bank in the nation. Continuing as pioneers in the industry, it has now become the first to provide validated patented cord tissue storage.
Here’s why cord blood and tissue is so amazing:
- Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, used in the treatment of cancers, blood disorders and immune deficiencies. Moreover, there are no ethical dilemmas posed by its extraction.
- Studies are currently underway to discover if the stem cells extracted from cord tissue can regenerate bone, cartilage, tendons and neurons. The scientists at Cryosite have developed a method to extract and store these cells for potential use in the future.
(This is a sponsored post for Cryosite)