Mother of Four Won the Battle Against Breast Cancer and Leukemia: Deb Martell, Part 4 #WeCanICan series

Mother of Four Won the Battle Against Breast Cancer and Leukemia: Deb Martell, Part 4 #WeCanICan series

Mother of four, Deb Martell fought breast cancer and won only to discover nine years later that she had developed leukemia (AML). Cord blood saved her life.

Part 4 in our #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood series, in association with World Cancer Day

Life is so simple. You are born. You go to school. You meet someone nice, get married, have a few kids. . . and boom! Cancer.

Cancer does not discriminate. It can pick on anyone and at any time. Originally from Wisconsin, Deb Martell moved to Denver in 1997 with her family. She was 36 years old at the time and a proud mother of four adorable children aged (4, 6, 9 & 11). Life was moving along nicely and very busy due to the move. So, you can imagine how shocked Deb was when she learned she had breast cancer just two months after the move.

Deb’s doctors moved quickly to put her on a hard course of chemotherapy. They also performed an autologous transplant (using her own stem cells), considered a radical treatment in the late 90’s. The treatment saved her life but also damaged her body severely. In particular, the harsh chemo treatment would prove to have a potentially fatal long-term side effect. Everyone knew there was a risk of this but Deb knew she was facing a life or death choice. She followed her doctor’s advice and won a second chance at life. She won the battle against breast cancer!

Fast forward nine years. . . Deb was enjoying her new life and so grateful to have beaten breast cancer. She and her family had moved again. Now, they were living in Wisconsin. The kids were growing up fast. Her oldest was now 20. The youngest was 13. All were keeping her busy with school runs, getting everyone to afterschool activities like hockey and soccer and volunteering at the church.

This was 2007 and Deb had just returned from dropping her second son off at college. She knew something was wrong. She felt incredibly weak. She made an appointment with her doctor. They drew some blood and realized that she needed two units immediately. A bone marrow biopsy was ordered for the next day. Deb was told that she had been diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukaemia). It was serious.

As the testing progressed, her doctor realized that she also had a “Chromosome 7 Abnormality” which most likely developed following the heavy chemotherapy she received back in 1998. The intense chemo treatment had saved her life but forever altered her body.  The fact remained that now she had leukemia and required immediate treatment. The doctor advised her to check into the hospital that same day so that she could start a week of chemo in preparation for a stem cell transplant. They would start looking for a bone marrow donor immediately.

WeCanICan - World Cancer Day - Beat Cancer With Cord Blood - Deb Martell

Deb Martell: Two-time Cancer Survivor – #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood

Deb immediately thought of her kids, “What? . . . but I can’t. Not today. I have to pick up my kids, make arrangements, I can’t just drop everything and start chemo.” Yes, the realities of motherhood often do not line up with the realities of the medical world. Deb did her best.

She quickly organized the necessary logistics for her children and made calls out to everyone to see if they could be a possible bone marrow donor. Everyone stepped into action. A network of family and friends was set up on Caring Bridge. Deb started chemo that weekend.

Deb’s doctors St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee had hoped that her brother would be a possible match for a bone marrow stem cell transplant. However, the criteria for a bone marrow transplant are strict and sadly he was not a match. Was there another option? Deb was desperate.

A hero emerged. . . Dr. Robert Taylor at St. Luke’s recommended she speak with a colleague of his who was doing exciting work using cord blood to fight cancer. This one conversation would save her life. Deb is grateful to this day that Dr. Taylor truly explored all options. He thought out of the box and put her in touch with Dr. Claudio Brunstein at the University of Minnesota – Fairview Hospital.

Deb met with Dr. Brunstein and the decision was made that a cord blood stem cell transplant would be her best hope for survival. The matching process would be easier than for bone marrow and hopefully they would only need one cord since she was considered a relatively small adult in terms of weight and height. The search began.

Deb proceeded with the chemo treatment and began to prepare her body for the transplant. She started to have numerous adverse reactions and issues with platelet transfusions because of the many antibodies in her system. The Blood Center of Wisconsin did an amazing job of finding the specific HLA matched platelets she needed.

Good news . . . Dr. Brunstein had found a cord blood donation that matched! Not only did it meet the basic criteria for matching, it exceeded it. The cord could have come from anywhere in the world but in Deb’s case it was found in the US which made logistics much easier. That donation turned out to be a 6 to 6 antigen match! Dr. Brunstein and his team also said that it was the largest cord blood collection they had ever seen. That meant that they would not need a second one. One would be enough!

Deb received her cord blood transplant on December 18th, 2007. She ended up staying in the hospital for a total of 36 days and then a local apartment for 3 months during which time she was separated from her family as they continued with school and work. However, her recovery progressed nicely. She did not suffer any problems with Graft versus Host Disease (another benefit of using cord blood instead of bone marrow). Her blood type changed from A+ to O+ and she developed an allergy to cashews. Overall, she made a quick recovery and her doctors were very impressed saying that she was an “exceptional cancer patient.”

Cancer survivor, mother of four, attends family wedding

Post cord blood transplant, Deb Martell attends a family wedding.

This past December, Deb celebrated her 9th birthday. Yes, it has been 9 years and she is cancer free! As you can imagine, Deb takes nothing for granted in life. She wakes up every morning and follows a routine filled with gratitude and healthy choices. “I thank God every morning for my very breath and the blessing it is to live another day. My day starts with prayer and thanksgiving and coffee with coconut oil and raw honey! Followed by my workout (usually),” she says.

Indeed, the experience has taught her and her family to be grateful for so much. Her fight against cancer has also influenced her kids in choices they have made. . . one becoming a lawyer, another a nurse. All of them are intent on making the world a better place. Deb and her family say now that they “don’t look at problems that other people see and give up. We try to learn from those problems.”

Thanks to cord blood, Deb was given another chance at life. Thanks to this valuable medical resource, she has been able to attend graduations, watch her kids blossom, enjoy the outdoors (love this photo of her kayaking!), work part-time . . . she is living and loving life!!

What is Deb’s advice to other cancer patients?

  • Be grateful. Take nothing for granted!
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle post-treatment. Deb keeps a non-toxic home as much as possible. Her goal every day is to protect and build her immune system. She eats gluten-free, corn-free, non-processed foods, . . . She stays health through choices that she makes daily.
  • One of her favorite rituals which she highly recommends is making a morning smoothie. Deb shared her recipe with us. Looks yummy!
Deb's Smoothie Recipe

1 cup organic spinach

1/2 an avocado

1 heaping T of coconut kefir spread (I get this locally so I’m not sure it’s available everywhere, but use something that has probiotics and live cultures.)

heaping T of LIVfit Superfood Blend or your choice of protein powder

1 small fairly unripe banana

1 cup organic frozen mixed berries

2 tp of cacao powder

8 oz of coconut water or filtered water

1 T of raw honey if you need more sweet

Blend and enjoy!

 

world cancer dayCord blood is an incredible medical resource. Since 1988, there have been more than 35,000 cord blood transplants worldwide.  Far from science-fiction, cord blood is currently used to treat over 80 diseases including sickle cell anemia, lymphoma and leukemia. Cord blood is also proving key for exciting research in regenerative medicine to potentially treating things like autism, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, diabetes. . .

Learn more about how cord blood is used to fight cancer by meeting others whose lives have been saved thanks to cord blood.  Discover the full #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood series (in World Cancer Day).

Two Kids Fight Cancer & Cerebral Palsy with Cord Blood (as seen in USA Today)

Two Kids Fight Cancer & Cerebral Palsy with Cord Blood (as seen in USA Today)

dylan praskins cord blood recipient

Being a kid! 6 years after his cord blood transplant, Dylan is having fun.

For USA Today, Save the Cord Foundation was recently asked to speak about treatments using cord blood to treat cancer and cerebral palsy. We took this opportunity to introduce readers to two amazing young boys whose lives have been forever changed thanks to cord blood. Meet Dylan and Ashton.

Read the full article published in a special edition of USA Today, “Expecting Parents.”

Dylan Fought Leukemia and Won

Born in April 2009, Dylan Praskins was diagnosed with infant leukemia or ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia) at only 8 weeks old. We have followed Dylan’s story since he was diagnosed. Against incredible odds, he won his fight against cancer thanks to cord blood.

Dylan’s case demonstrates why public cord blood donation is so important.

Read more about Dylan here.

Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Ashton Said Good-Bye to his Wheelchair

Viacord Cord blood for cerebral palsy

Ashton was 6 weeks old when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The diagnosis was not expected but luckily, Ashton’s parents had saved his cord blood at birth. At the age of 5, Ashton received his own cord blood stem cells in a simple 20-minute transfusion. Signs of improvement quickly followed.

Learn more about private cord blood banking (or “family banking”).

 

Ashton’s story is not unique. Research using cord blood to treat cerebral palsy, autism, diabetes and more is advancing quickly. As a source of non-controversial stem cells, cord blood is at the forefront of regenerative medicine. Learn more about the science that is helping these two boys have a second chance at life.

Read the full article (as seen in USA Today) to learn more.

 

 

Join the Cord Blood Movement

Public and private cord blood banking are both important. At Save the Cord Foundation, we recognize that every family is different. For some, public banking provides a way for to help others and make use of a valuable resource which would otherwise be thrown away. For others, their family history or personal medical history may mean that private cord blood banking is a priority. Some parents don’t have a public banking option and so choose to privately store their child’s cord blood so that it is not thrown away simply as medical waste.

Regardless of your choice, one thing is clear. Even though cord blood is currently being used to treat over 80 different diseases, we are just starting to understand the potential of this fantastic medical resource. Saving cord blood is the ultimate in recycling. Join the #cordbloodmovement today. Tell a friend about Dylan and Ashton. Encourage them to learn more @SaveTheCord. Empower them with knowledge so that they can make the right choice for them. #SaveTheCord

Click here to get involved and spread the word.

NEWS: Nebraska 1st Ever Double Cord Blood Transplant to Treat 13-Year Old with Leukemia

NEWS: Nebraska 1st Ever Double Cord Blood Transplant to Treat 13-Year Old with Leukemia

Ready to smile?  This week young Joseph Cruz, or “J-Money” as one of the nurses call him, has received a double cord blood transplant to treat Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).  Doctors at the Nebraska Medicine say that this is first time ever that a double cord blood transplant has been performed in the state of Nebraska.

Diagnosed with leukemia over a year and half ago, doctors desperately tried to find a stem cell match for Joseph. Incredibly, they were not able to find a match for Joseph even though he has 9 brothers and sisters.  They also searched the national registries for bone marrow. Ultimately, it was the training and insight of Dr. Sachit Patel that led them to giving cord blood a chance.

Joseph’s story is yet another reminder of how valuable cord blood is to the medical community and patients desperately waiting for a stem cell match.  Thanks to two families who chose to donate their child’s cord blood at birth, Joseph will have a second chance at life. Imagine if this option had not been available. Cord blood is Joseph’s #CancerMoonshot!

Read more about Joseph and view this interview with him filmed just after his transplant. 

We want to wish Joseph a speedy recovery and thank all of those parents out there who are giving cancer patients a second chance thanks to cord blood.

We also want to acknowledge the outstanding leadership shown by the medical team at Nebraska Medicine who pushed to find a treatment for Joseph. You are fighting childhood cancer head on! Bravo!

Source: Channel 6 WOWT Nebraska

 

  *  *  *

Do you want to learn more about how
cord blood is being used to fight cancer?  

Read about more cord blood transplant recipients, like Joseph,
in our “#WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood” series.

Diane Paradise, Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer survivor thanks to cord blood.

 

 

 

Success! April 13th, 2017 – Arizona Cord Blood Conference

Success! April 13th, 2017 – Arizona Cord Blood Conference

UPDATE: This event was held April 13th, 2017. Not only was the conference sold-out, but many of the speakers have offered to return for future events. There were numerous doctors and nurses in attendance (CME credits were awarded for certain lectures). Many parents were also in the audience.  However, many of the most interesting questions came from local students who truly impressed everyone with their knowledge of cord blood stem cells.

Exciting things are happening in Arizona!  Get ready for the 2nd Annual Arizona Cord Blood Conference to be held on April 13th, 2017.  We are looking forward to hearing from a wide range of speakers who work in the industry and are leading cutting edge research in cellular therapies using cord blood.

For students interested in possible STEM careers, this conference will provide a unique opportunity to learn directly from those in the cord blood industry and discover new opportunities that are emerging thanks to exciting research and current uses for cord blood stem cells.

For health professionals, you will have the opportunity to meet with leading scientists in this field and understand how your practice could immediately have impact or benefit from cord blood collections. As a medical practitioner, you can also earn up to 6 hours CME credits at this free conference.

For hospital administrators and policy makers, this conference will be key to better understanding the current status of the cord blood industry and how we can work together to improve it.

CME credits - Arizona Cord Blood Conference 2017

Earn CME credits – Register Now

Meet cord blood recipients like Nathan Mumford, Dylan Praskins and Noah Swanson. . .

Meet Nathan and numerous cord blood experts at the. . .

ARIZONA Cord Blood Conference
Thursday, April 13th, 2017
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM MST

Desert Willow Conference Center
4340 East Cotton Center Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85040

PRE-REGISTER now for the 2017 Arizona Cord Blood Conference: April 13th, 2017 (more details to follow)

 

Exact program details will be announced shortly. Please check this page for updates.

 *   *   *   *   *

This event is sponsored by the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission in partnership with the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix, the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program and Save the Cord Foundation.

 

NEWS: CryoSave, CryoHoldco and China Cord Blood Corporation Compared by BioInformant

NEWS: CryoSave, CryoHoldco and China Cord Blood Corporation Compared by BioInformant

Groups like CryoSave, CryoHoldco and China Cord Blood Corporation dominate the international scene of the cord blood industry.

Outside of the US, private cord blood banks often cross international borders and face regulations that are very different from the US. CryoSave, CryoHoldco and China Cord Blood Corporation are three of the largest international banks. But, what do you know about them?

As a parent, you may be feeling confused when you see these names. Perhaps you have never heard of them before?  You are not alone. You may only know these names if they are actively advertising in your country.

Countries vary greatly in their regulations for cord blood. Some have no rules. Others have very strict rules. Rules can even vary from region to region — for example, in Sweden.

The world is a big place and being an international player in the cord blood industry is not easy. Logistics and politics can be challenging.  In some places, private banks are not allowed and only public banks exist but in very limited numbers. In many places, public banks do not exist (yet) and the private players control the market. The industry is still evolving.

At Save the Cord Foundation, we do not and will not recommend one bank over another. We recognize that both big and small banks have their advantages. Likewise, we see a role for both public and private banks…especially when they work together.  The industry is constantly changing. We have seen major changes across the board in recent years even with large groups like CryoSave, CryoHoldco and the China Cord Blood Corporation.

Our role at the Foundation is not to choose for you. We want to help you ask the right questions and get the facts.

We feel strongly that parents need to talk to the banks that interest them, ask great questions, and choose a bank based on their own personal priorities. You have options. . . lots of options.

CryoSave_CryoHoldco_Collect cord blood in majority births

Some banks specialize in areas or offer programs that could be important to your particular family. Some may not advertise these programs but they exist behind the scenes and all you need to do is ask.

The key is to be proactive.

Begin your research here, at Save the Cord Foundation.

Then, explore the sites of some of our partners like Be The Match or BioInformant.

In particular, BioInformant is internationally recognized for their studies of the stem cell market. In a recent article, the group focused on three of the largest international cord blood banks, including:

  • CryoSave
  • CryoHoldco
  • China Cord Blood Corporation

In the article, Cade Hildreth, CEO of BioInformant, explains “we compare the three largest cord blood banks outside of the United States. In this analysis, the metrics used to identify the top three international cord blood banks was the number of cord blood and cord tissue units stored, number of transplants, rate of growth, and regions served.”

We encourage you to read the full article from BioInformant which compares these three banks.

“Comparison of the Top 3 International Cord Blood Banks – Cryo-Save, CryoHoldco, China Cord Blood Corporation”
Click here to read the full article.

Bioinformant - Partner in Cord Blood Education


Did you know cord blood has been used for many years to treat various forms of cancer? It’s true. In particular, cord blood is often used to treat leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell.

#WeCanICan: #BeatCancer with Cord Blood

#WeCanICan: #BeatCancer with Cord Blood

In association with World Cancer Day, we launched a series of stories focused on cancer survivors who were helped by cord blood.

We encourage you to meet Nathan, a 3-time cancer survivor who refers to himself as “3-Peat”. He is an amazing person whose life was saved thanks to cord blood. Read Nathan’s story.

Next, meet Diane, a woman who does not take “no hope” as an answer! Thanks to her persistence and the life-saving qualities of cord blood, Diane beat Hodgkins Lymphoma and is forever grateful to the 2 families who donated their children’s cord blood. Read Diane’s story.

Learn more about work with World Cancer Day and find out how you can get involved!

 

NEWS: CBR, Viacord and CryoCell Compared by BioInformant

NEWS: CBR, Viacord and CryoCell Compared by BioInformant

Big names like CBR, Viacord and CryoCell International tend to dominate the cord blood industry. But, . . .

The truth is the cord blood industry is vast and complicated. Beyond Cord Blood Registry / CBR, Viacord and CryoCell there are many reputable players. Indeed for parents who are interested in private or family cord blood banking, the are plenty of options (perhaps too many).

At Save the Cord Foundation, we do not and will not recommend one bank over another. We recognize that both big and small banks have their advantages. The industry is in constant flux as well. Even the big groups like CBR, Viacord and CryoCell International have undergone major changes in the past few years.

Give life twice. Save cord blood.

Get the facts. Save the cord.

We feel strongly that parents need to talk to the banks that interest them, ask great questions, and choose a bank based on their own personal priorities. You have options. . . lots of options.

Some banks specialize in areas or offer programs that could be important to your particular family. Some may not advertise these programs but they exist behind the scenes and all you need to do is ask.

So please, do your research thoroughly (it is more important than choosing a baby buggy).

Begin your research here, at Save the Cord Foundation.

Then, explore the sites of some of our partners like Be The Match or BioInformant.

In particular, BioInformant is internationally recognized for their studies of the stem cell market. In a recent article, they focused on some of the biggest names in private cord blood banking including CBR, Viacord, and CryoCell International.

According to Cade Hildreth, CEO of BioInformant, “These three companies are not only the three market leaders in the United States by number of cord blood and cord tissue units banked, but are also some of the largest cord blood banks worldwide.”

We encourage you to read the full article from BioInformant which compares these three banks.

“Comparison of the Top 3 U.S. Cord Blood Banks – CBR, ViaCord, and CryoCell International”
Click here to read the full article. 

 

Bioinformant - Partner in Cord Blood Education


 

Did you know cord blood has been used for many years to treat various forms of cancer? It’s true. In particular, cord blood is often used to treat leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell. 

#WeCanICan: #BeatCancer with Cord Blood

#WeCanICan: #BeatCancer with Cord Blood

In association with World Cancer Day, we launched a series of stories focused on cancer survivors who were helped by cord blood.

We encourage you to meet Nathan, a 3-time cancer survivor who refers to himself as “3-Peat”. He is an amazing person whose life was saved thanks to cord blood. Read Nathan’s story.

Next, meet Diane, a woman who does not take “no hope” as an answer! Thanks to her persistence and the life-saving qualities of cord blood, Diane beat Hodgkins Lymphoma and is forever grateful to the 2 families who donated their children’s cord blood. Read Diane’s story. 

Learn more about work with World Cancer Day and find out how you can get involved!

Loving Letter from Doctor & Father of Three Kids

Loving Letter from Doctor & Father of Three Kids

The following is a letter we received recently from Dr. Eric Callaghan, a practicing physician and father of three from Wisconsin.

Dr. Callaghan has kindly allowed us share his story. It demonstrates some of the common problems parents encounter today whether they are family banking or donating their child’s cord blood. At Save the Cord Foundation, we are working daily to help solve some of these issues through the education of health professionals and parents.

 

Dear fellow parents and expectant parents,

As a physician and father to three young daughters, I am aware of the vast potential of cord blood. My wife and I have chosen to bank the cord blood of each of our daughters.

With our first two daughters (ages 10 and 7), we utilized private cord blood banking and were unaware of the option for public banking. With our third daughter, Grace (age 1), we became aware of the public option and in choosing such, we were hoping that someday the first act of our newborn’s life would be one of generosity and compassion.

After we made the decision to donate to a public bank, we had a difficult time finding a suitable company, since our hospital was not affiliated with a particular public cord blood bank. Our options were unfortunately limited; our obstetrics group was relatively unfamiliar with public options and procedures, and one of the companies we considered would not accept public cord blood donation if the baby was born during specific hours over the weekend.

We eventually chose a company who we were very happy with, but unfortunately the amount of cord blood which was obtained from our baby was relatively low and we are unsure if it was ever suitable for banking (or if it ended up being used for research or other purposes).

Dr. Callaghan chose a hybrid cord blood bank. Why?

Unfortunately, the majority of hospitals in the world do not offer a public donation program for cord blood. There are various reasons for this (awareness, costs, logistics…).

Dr. Callaghan and his wife were very passionate about wanting to donate their third child’s cord blood. They contacted a hybrid cord blood bank who was willing to collect cord blood donations at their hospital. Hybrid banks often fill the gap when a public program does not exist locally.

Learn more about hybrid cord blood banks by clicking here.

I am uncertain if the low yield of cord blood from Grace’s birth was inevitable, but I do not believe that our experience is unique as the company that we chose later ended up limiting their acceptance of cord blood donation to specific states, likely at least partially due to the inconsistencies in the amount of cord blood obtained from various hospitals and practices.

Save the Cord Foundation is helping to spread the word about the vast benefits of cord blood banking. Increasing public and medical awareness of the benefits of public cord blood donation will save lives, as will increasing accessibility and options for public banking.

As a physician, I can tell you, the applicability of cord blood is increasing, but we need to ensure that couples and their obstetricians are aware of these benefits and have easy, convenient access to public banking.

If more parents knew that their child’s first act in the world would be in providing a life-saving cure for a specific disease, the results and impact could be exponential for patients and our entire medical community.

Yours truly,

Eric Callaghan, MD

 


Putting our family first. . .

Dr. Callaghan is like many parents. He is a father who wants the best for his children. He is fortunate. He had access to information on cord blood and understood the potential life-saving benefits of this medical resource. He was able to make an educated decision — the best decision a father could make.

We are proud of you Dr. Callaghan. You were pro-active about the cord blood collection process for all of your children and now your story will help others. Thank you for writing to us.


Are you pregnant?

Are you wondering what the pros and cons are of either cord blood donation or family banking?
Watch this quick video to understand your options. Then, read about people whose lives have been saved thanks to cord blood:

You will agree… regardless of what others might say…cord blood has powerful healing powers and can help someone (maybe even your own child) if we just take a moment to save it.

Learn about your options here.

GUEST POST: Hawaii Sees High Percentage of Multi-Ethnic Cord Blood Donors (part 2)

GUEST POST: Hawaii Sees High Percentage of Multi-Ethnic Cord Blood Donors (part 2)

Continued from part one: Guest post written by Dr. Randal Wada, Linda Watanabe and the wonderful team at Hawaii Cord Blood Bank
Dr. Randal Wada and the team at Hawaii Cord Blood Bank

Proud team at Hawai‘i Cord Blood Bank (left to right), should be: Dr. Randal Wada, President and Medical Director, Charis Ober from Save the Cord Foundation, Linda Watanabe, Administrative Manager, Lynette Matsumoto, Program Coordinator, Allison Sears, Donor Coordinator, Lisa Wong-Yamamoto, Nurse Educator.

Although founded to serve the people of Hawaii to fill the critical need for cord blood from multi-ethnic donors, HCBB has also proven to be a valuable resource for patients of Asian, Polynesian, or mixed ethnicity worldwide.

The Hawaii Cord Blood Bank is addressing an important need through its umbilical cord blood banking efforts, which help to increase access to transplant for minority patients in Hawaii and throughout the world.

Thanks to the hard work and devotion of hundreds of doctors and nurses who volunteer their time on our behalf, we offer cord blood donations at all five birthing hospitals on Oahu at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, The Queens Medical Center, Tripler Army Medical Center, and Castle Medical Center as well as on Maui at the Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Mixed Race Cord Blood Donors - HCBB

Donor Maribeth Toledo‐ Cabuslay with Baby Ryan and Nurse Educator Lisa Wong‐Yamamoto, RNC as they wait to be interviewed by Hawai’i News Now newscasters

Our cord blood units are sent to our partners at Bloodworks Northwest in Seattle for processing and storage. Cord blood units collected by the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank are listed with the National Marrow Donor Program’s network of cord blood banks.

HCBB is a small organization, yet we have collected over 10,000 units and stored over 3,000 cord blood units of which approximately 87% of our cord blood units collected are from minority or multi-ethnic donors.

Hawaii’s unique racial demographics make Hawaii Cord Blood Bank a national model for a system of cord blood collection and banking that is truly capable of reflecting the full spectrum of ethnic diversity within the population it seeks to serve.

 

Hawai'i Cord Blood Blank, Sharing the Gift of Life

 

We wish to thank the team at Hawaii Cord Blood Bank for this wonderful guest post and for the noble work they do everyday collecting cord blood and helping patients worldwide who are desperately waiting for a stem cell donor. You can learn more about the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank here.

Go back to part one of this article.

Want to learn more about cord blood?

Join the cord blood movement. . . Register for our Parent’s Newsletter at Save the Cord Foundation.

Meet someone who has received a cord blood transplant and see first hand why we must save this precious medical resource:

GUEST POST:  Hawaii Cord Blood Bank – Sharing the Gift of Life

GUEST POST: Hawaii Cord Blood Bank – Sharing the Gift of Life

Guest post written by Dr. Randal Wada, Linda Watanabe and the wonderful team at Hawaii Cord Blood Bank

Hawai'i Cord Blood Blank, Sharing the Gift of Life

The Hawaii Cord Blood Bank (HCBB) is an independent, non-profit community service organization which began operations in 1998 as a means to help the challenge of finding donors for Hawaii’s ethnically diverse patient population.

A growing proportion of Hawaii’s population is comprised of people from multiple race/mixed ethnicity backgrounds.

According to the 2010 census, there has been a 32% increase in the multiple race segment of our population over the last decade, and Hawaii leads this national trend with 23% of the State’s population reporting two or more races.

This becomes a challenge when patients from Hawaii are searching for a matching bone marrow or stem cell donor since the majority of donors in our national registry are Caucasian, while donors from minorities (African American, Asian, Pacific Islanders) are underrepresented.

Mixed race patients may have inherited a tissue type that is common in one of their parent’s ethnic group, and another tissue type that is common in the other parent’s ethnic group. The combination of these two common types is often uncommon.

The diversity of Hawaii’s population is the main reason Hawaii patients needing stem cell transplants have an especially difficult time finding matching donors.

Although founded to serve the people of Hawaii to fill the critical need for cord blood from multi-ethnic donors, HCBB (click to continue reading). . .

Go to part two of this article.


ARE YOU JUST STARTING TO LEARN ABOUT CORD BLOOD?

Get involved. Join the cord blood movement.

Get involved. Register for our newsletter, make a donation. Make a difference.

You must have tons of questions. Perhaps, you have become confused by something you read in the media? You are not the only one.

Take a minute to read through some of the most frequently asked questions.

Then, step over to our section on the latest research and learn how quickly cord blood is changing medicine.

We interview doctors and researchers constantly. Discover the latest in cord blood derived stem cell therapies and learn how they might help you or someone in your family.

Rare, Two-Time Bone Marrow Donor: Sean Patterson (part three)

Rare, Two-Time Bone Marrow Donor: Sean Patterson (part three)

Part Three: Interview with two-time bone marrow donor, Sean Patterson

STCF:  How did you feel on the big day? What was it like to donate bone marrow? 

Sean Patterson discussing bone marrow donation and giving with elementary students.

Discussing his bone marrow donor story and “Blessing Bags” distributed by the 411 Foundation with third graders.

July 18, 2014…DONATION DAY!!!! Nothing could prepare me for the range of emotions that hit me on this day. My thoughts and prayers were and had always been with this little girl and her family and today was the day that they were going to have the CHANCE to win the fight. The donation process wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I could definitely tell that I had been stuck in the back a few times….OUCH!!! While the procedures varies slightly from hospital to hospital, generally, the doctors make several (typically one to four) small incisions through the skin over the back of the pelvic bones. The incisions are less than one-fourth inch long and do not require stitches. The doctors inserts a special hollow needle through these incisions over the rear of the pelvic bone with a syringe attached to the needle to draw out the marrow.

STCF:  Sean, your donor story is rare because you donated twice. Why?

Things didn’t go as planned with the little girl and the bone marrow and I was asked in early September 2014 if I would be willing to donate stem cells to assist the bone marrow process and what do you think my answer was to that…yup you guessed it I said YES!!! The stem cell donation was scheduled for October 20, 2014, but before I was able to donate I had to do five days of Filgrastim injections. These injections had my body sore and this felt worse that any part of the bone marrow donation, but I wouldn’t change anything about the process to give this little girl a chance.

October 20, 2014…STEM CELL DONATION DAY. This donation was done through a process called apheresis, which is similar to donating plasma. During apheresis, a needle is placed into each of your arms. Blood is removed from a vein in one arm and passed through tubing into a blood cell separator machine. The machine collects blood-forming cells, platelets, and some white blood cells. Plasma and red blood cells are returned to your body through the other arm. All the tubing used in the machine is sterile and is used only once for your donation. Seventy-five percent of all PBSC donations are completed in one apheresis session, which may last up to eight hours. The remaining 25 percent of donations are completed in two apheresis sessions, which will take four to six hours each day. My donation was completed in three hours.

The last update I received in December of 2014 was the little girl’s body hadn’t fully accepted my bone marrow or stem cells, but I was hopeful that it would. At first I took this personally and felt like a failure until friends and family pointed out that I had done my part and I had given this little girl A CHANCE!!

Sadly, I received a call on April 3, 2015 that the little girl had passed away. I didn’t feel like I had done enough to help her, but everyone let me know that I had given the family more time with her.

STCF:  Sean, we agree with your friends and family that you did the most that anyone could do to help this little girl.  Indeed, you have gone well beyond the call of duty by encouraging others to donate as well. Your compassion has led you to do wonderful things via your foundation. Tell us about the foundation and the work you do. 

411Foundation_Sean PattersonOn April 26, 2014, the 411 Foundation held a donor registration drive and was able to get forty new donors registered. These forty new donors give more individuals and families the CHANCE of winning their fight with blood cancer.

 

 

 

 

STCF:  Sean, you agree with us that both bone marrow donation and cord blood donation are important. The collection processes for each could not be more different. Cord blood can only be collected at birth. . . a fleeting, precious moment. What is your advice to expectant parents? 

My advice to parents is to really consider donating cord blood. By donating, parents could save a life. This process doesn’t hurt anyone, but it could help someone and that’s all that matters.

STCF:  Thank you, Sean, for spending time with us today. Your compassion is certainly contagious!!

Give life twice. #SAVETHECORD

Go back to part two: Sean Patterson


You can make a difference.

Donate your baby’s cord blood and/or become a bone marrow donor yourself.

Read more about Sean’s story here.

 BETHEMATCH Sean Patterson


Pregnant? Want to donate cord blood?

We can help. Find a hospital with public donation program or contact a hybrid bank to help you.

Cord blood banking saves lives.

About Save the Cord Foundation

Save the Cord Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, was established to promote awareness of the life-saving benefits of cord blood based on unbiased and factual information. The Foundation educates parents, health professionals and the general public about the need to preserve this valuable medical resource while providing information on both public cord blood donation programs and family cord blood banks worldwide.

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