Tucson Roadrunners AHL Hockey Hosts “Cord Blood Awareness Night”

Tucson Roadrunners AHL Hockey Hosts “Cord Blood Awareness Night”

Giving back to the community, our local hockey team, the Tucson Roadrunners (an AHL affiliate), will be welcoming Save the Cord Foundation on Friday, March 31st for “Cord Blood Awareness Night.”

The Tucson Roadrunners know how to support those who support them!  They have witnessed our work over the years within the local Tucson community and throughout the state of Arizona. Understanding the importance of our mission to expand cord blood education, the Tucson Roadrunners have extended a special invitation to Save the Cord Foundation to host “Cord Blood Awareness Night.” It is an opportunity to build awareness about cord blood with Roadrunner fans of all generations and fundraise for our annual budget.

The Save the Cord Foundation team, including many of our interns from University of Arizona, will be speaking with Roadrunner fans about how cord blood stem cells are currently being used to treat over 80 different diseases including lymphoma, leukemia and sickle cell. They also learn about the many encouraging clinical studies using cord blood stem cells in regenerative medicine to potentially treat spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, autism, diabetes, hearing loss, etc. Advice on how to donate cord blood to the Arizona Public Cord Blood program will also be provided. Information will be available in both English and Spanish.

Have some fun and give to a good cause at the same time!!!

Join us for “Cord Blood Awareness Night”
March 31st, 2017 – 7pm until. . .

(only available from Save the Cord Foundation)

Tucson Roadrunners vs. San Diego Gulls

. . .and it’s $2 Beer Night!!!

HOW TO BUY TICKETS:  It is easy to join us for this special event! Tickets are only $20 per person (normally $30-40 per person)!  Get a spot for you and your friends!  Simply fill out our contact form (or send an email to info@savethecordfoundation.org) with your name, phone number and number of tickets you wish to buy.  We will have a team member contact you to confirm the purchase and arrange delivery (cash on delivery, local Tucson delivery only).




Cord Blood World Europe 2017: Educational Approaches

Cord Blood World Europe 2017: Educational Approaches

The Cord Blood World Europe conference in London is just around the corner and Save the Cord Foundation is pleased to announce that we will be participating again this year. Our team will be leading a unique roundtable/workshop called “Educational Approaches” building on themes of collaboration presented by key speakers at this event.

The Cord Blood World Europe conference has evolved over the years into a dynamic platform for collaboration and discussion amongst the cord blood industry’s leading experts. Each year the event welcomes numerous researchers and visionaries from all over the world who have one thing in common. . . cord blood.  Born out of demand from feedback over the years Cord Blood World Europe aims to bring together public and private banks, clinicians, researchers, regulatory bodies and solution providers to tackle the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. The conference focuses on the continued need to increase the number of parents who privately store or donate cord blood, reduce costs, increase utilisation, advance regenerative applications and improve quality.

Cord Blood World Europe 2017
17-18 May 2017
Business Design Center, London
Register Now

In 2017, there will be a special emphasis placed on new collaborations developing in this maturing industry. The conference will serve as a springboard for discussions both publicly and privately on how to move forward globally with research and current cellular therapies using cord blood. In addition to lectures from renowned cord blood pioneers such as Dr. Colleen Delaney of NoHLA Therapeutics/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg of Duke University, a series of panel discussions with cord blood experts from both the public and private arenas will allow participants to dig deeper into various topics and seek real world answers to challenges they face as a cord blood bank, a researcher, an oncologist, a charity, etc.

Just to name a few of the presentations/discussions we are looking forward to. . .

  • Keynote presentations from Dr. Colleen Delaney from NoHLA/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and Professor Vanderson Rocha of Eurocord
  • Research focused presentations from Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg of Duke University and Dr. Jaap Boelens of UMC Utrecht
  • Panel discussion on “The Advantages of Banking Other Tissue, and the Effect This Will Have on the Cord Blood Industry”
  • Panel discussion on “Cord Blood Expansion: How Close Are We to a Solution for this Bottleneck?”
  • Break out session on “Patient Advocacy” highlighting differences in US and UK mandates
Exclusive Roundtable/Workshop: EDUCATIONAL APPROACHES
Building on themes of collaboration, Save the Cord Foundation will lead a special roundtable/workshop called “Educational Approaches.” This roundtable/workshop will focus on the art of communication and education within the industry. Our team will work with participants in small group sessions to develop educational messages for various audiences. All participants will be given the option to feature their educational messages on our website at Save the Cord Foundation along with a backlink to their website where their teams will be encouraged to build on this message. The goal is to start a series of conversations across the globe, targeting a variety of audiences and building on what is presented at Cord Blood World Europe 2017. PLACES ARE LIMITED.

Please note, places are very limited for the “Educational Approaches” roundtable/workshop with Save the Cord Foundation. Please reserve your spot for the conference and the roundtable via the Terrapin website: http://www.terrapinn.com/conference/cord-blood-world-europe/index.stm

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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).

#WeCanICan : Beat Cancer with Cord Blood – World Cancer Day

#WeCanICan : Beat Cancer with Cord Blood – World Cancer Day

Don’t sit back! Get up and spread the good news! #WeCanICan beat cancer with cord blood!  It is already happening and we are going to celebrate cord blood’s success on World Cancer Day 2017.

Join us to spread the word to parents and medical professionals about this valuable medical resource. Let’s encourage more parents to save the cord. Let’s encourage more hospitals to launch public cord blood donation programs.
Save the Cord Foundation_World Cancer Day

Save the Cord Foundation is a proud participant in World Cancer Day 2017 (visit the WCD site). Of course, cancer awareness and cord blood education go year round but this February 4th everyone is making a special effort to get the word out! Why is this important?  First of all, though doctors have not yet “cured” cancer it is fair to say that huge progress has been made. Part of that progress is largely due to cord blood!

At Save the Cord Foundation, World Cancer Day 2017 will kick off a series of articles and interviews with cancer survivors, the doctors who treat them and, of course, parents who have donated their child’s cord blood. Join us as we reach out to members of the medical community and parents to explain how cord blood is being used to treat 80+ diseases including many blood cancers.

Discover our #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood series:

Part 1:  Nathan Mumford: Living Proof We Can Beat Cancer with Cord Blood

Part 2:  Diane Paradise: Game Over Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Part 3:  George Cannette: Stronger Than a Hurricane!

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



FACT:  Cord blood is often used to treat things like lymphoma, leukemia and sickle cell anemia.

We support public cord blood donation programs worldwide like Be The Match, State led programs like the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program (US), Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank (US)Jeevan Cord Blood Bank (India), Anthony Nolan (UK), Canadian Blood Services (Canada) . . . the list goes on. But, the key to these programs is having doctors and nurses on board in each hospital.

FACT:  Once thought of as experimental, cord blood transplants have become more and more common. Since the first cord blood transplant was performed on a patient suffering from Fanconi Anemia over 25 years ago there have been more than 35,000 umbilical cord blood transplants in the world. 

There is also an urgency to increase cord blood donations from minority and mixed race families, just like with bone marrow donations.

Current practice in most hospitals is to just throw cord blood away as medical waste when a baby is born.  However, cord blood holds tons of valuable non-controversial stem cells.

FACT:  Collecting cord blood does not hurt the mother or child and can be collected safely in the majority of births.

Our mission is remind doctors, nurses, midwives and parents of these facts. And to remind them that there are people waiting for a donor to treat their cancer. Together, #WeCanICan beat cancer with cord blood. Every action is important on #WorldCancerDay!

Give life twice.  #Savethecord.


In addition the materials provided by Save the Cord Foundation, we invite you to discover these tools and facts sheets on cancer awareness, prevention and treatment (source: World Cancer Day & the Union for International Cancer Control) :

ScreenHunter_49 Jan. 29 12.47World Cancer Day: Build a Quality Cancer Workforce (download) 




ScreenHunter_50 Jan. 29 12.50World Cancer Day: Mobilise Networks (download) 




ScreenHunter_51 Jan. 29 12.52

World Cancer Day: Shape Policy Change (download)




ScreenHunter_52 Jan. 29 12.53World Cancer Day: Take Control of My Cancer Journery (download)



VIDEO: Dr. Wise Young, Spinal Cord Injury & Potential Treatments Using Cord Blood

VIDEO: Dr. Wise Young, Spinal Cord Injury & Potential Treatments Using Cord Blood

Together with our sponsor, Mediware Inc., we had the honor of hosting Dr. Wise Young for an exclusive “Share the Science” live presentation during the AABB 2016 annual conference.

Dr. Wise Young’s accolades are many yet what makes him a leading researcher in the cord blood industry is his commitment to bringing treatments to people with spinal cord Injuries.

During the live #ShareTheScience presentation, Dr. Young spoke in great detail about his current research and goals for the future. His presentation led the group to discussing a variety of issues including the fact that cord blood supplies could very quickly be depleted as major medical advances are made using cord blood. Indeed, there is precedent for this if we consider that just a few decades ago cord blood was not used at all and now it is used to treat over 80 different diseases including leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell and thalassemia.

Many health professionals agree that cord blood holds many distinct advantages.  Learn the facts on cord blood here.

In this short video interview, we asked Dr. Young to speak about briefly about his own groundbreaking research using cord blood to treat spinal cord injury and progress that is being made in the field. He also expanded on the group’s discussion about cord blood supplies, public banking and health care costs for these new therapies. He placed a particular focus on India and third world countries where most families cannot afford treatments or private cord blood banking.  Regarding India, he spoke extensively about the opportunity and challenge which lies before us to make cord blood therapies and storage more accessible in order to fight thalassemia (read a related guest post on India from Jeevan Blood Bank).

The overriding message. . . medicine is advancing fast!  The world needs more cord blood.


This interview is meant as a general introduction to Dr. Young’s research and does not go into the same technical depth that his live presentation did. Unfortunately, a recording of the live presentation is not available.

About Dr. Young

Dr. Wise Young, M.D., Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, founding director of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience is recognized as one of the world’s outstanding neuroscientists.

Dr. Wise Young built and trained a 25 center clinical trial network in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, where human clinical trials using umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells and lithium are underway. In the initial results from the phase II trial in Kunming, China, 75% of the participants (15 out of 20) recovered walking with a rolling walker. He is establishing clinical trial networks in the United States, Norway, and India. Phase IIB trials started in 2015, and phase III trials are getting underway this year.


Like this video?

Share it and then join us for our next
Share the Science webinar or live event!

Free and open to the public.

Register Now: April 13th, 2017 – Arizona Cord Blood Conference

Register Now: April 13th, 2017 – Arizona Cord Blood Conference

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.


Stronger than a Hurricane: George Cannette, Cancer Survivor (Part 3 in the #WeCanICan Series)

Stronger than a Hurricane: George Cannette, Cancer Survivor (Part 3 in the #WeCanICan Series)

Suddenly struck with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) as an adult, George Cannette and his doctors could not find a bone marrow match for him. Doctors decided cord blood would be the best option.

Welcome to Biloxi, Mississippi. The year is 2005 and the area has just been hit by a natural disaster that would make the history books in many ways. It’s late August and Hurricane Katrina just destroyed the lives of thousands. Over 1400 were killed in the flooding. Later, the death toll rose even higher as communities began to make sense of the chaos and struggled to put life back together. It was during this time that George Cannette started having symptoms.

Cancer Survivor George Cannette

George felt bad, really bad.
He thought at first it was the flu or something minor. Then, the symptoms got a bit worse and pretty soon George realized that he needed to see a doctor. But, that was easier said than done in the days and weeks following Hurricane Katrina. George downplayed things in his mind and waited for his local doctor’s office to open again (closed for weeks due to the storm).

On September 19th, 2005, George finally got to see the doctor.
By this point, he was at an all-time low and his doctor immediately sent him to the hospital for tests. On September 20th, George got the news. He was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML).

Quickly George’s doctors reacted. He was immediately put on chemotherapy as the chaos of Hurricane Katrina continued around him. But, George was hopeful and ultimately it seemed that the cancer went into remission for several months. This was false hope as the new year would bring a new round of the disease and other complications.

In early 2006, doctors concluded that the chemotherapy was not working as they had hoped for George. Indeed, the cancer was still there.

Doctors told George he would need a bone marrow transplant. The search began. After several months and no donor match, he was referred to the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas where he met with Dr. Partow Kebriaei. Dr. Kebriaei and her team initially tried to find a bone marrow transplant for George but time was running out. No matches could be found.

What is Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)?

• Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets.

• Leukemia may affect red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

• There are different subtypes of AML.

• Smoking, previous chemotherapy treatment, and exposure to radiation may affect the risk of adult AML.

• Signs and symptoms of adult AML include fever, feeling tired, and easy bruising or bleeding.

• Tests that examine the blood and bone marrow are used to detect (find) and diagnose adult AML.

• Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

(Source: National Cancer Institute at Cancer.gov, accessed 31 March 2016.)

George remembers the day that he was told there was no match for him.
He found out by accident from one of the nurses while he was waiting for the doctor. His mind immediately started to spin as started to pick up his cell phone to call his family. That was it, he thought. No other options. Just then, Dr. Kebriaei came in.

She reviewed the details of George’s situation. George listened and preparing to mentally for the worse. He started to thank her for her time. . .thinking there was nothing more she could do. Quickly, Dr. Kebriaei interjected with words that George will never forget, “George, that’s not how we do things here.” George listened.

Chemo treatment 2005 George Cannette Leukemia

Hope. Hope was what Dr. Kebriaei offered.
She began to explain in great detail that she would like to recommend George for a clinical trial at MD Anderson using cord blood to treat leukemia. A baby’s cord blood? George had never heard of this type of treatment but he was willing to trust her advice.

Dr. Kebriaei gave George as much detail as she could but also explained that in George’s case the procedure carried a very high risk. Because George had gone through so much chemotherapy, his body was weak and his immune system was in terrible shape.

She estimated that George had a 40% chance of surviving the cord blood transplant. In his case, a double cord blood transplant would be necessary and he would need to stay in isolation for 30 days after the transplant procedure. Ultimately, she predicted, in his case, that the long term survival rate would be 2 years.

George did not hesitate. He said yes. Instead of picking up the phone to call his family with tragic news, he now picked up the phone to explain that he wanted to take a risk on this new procedure. With his family’s full support, he was putting his faith in new medicine (at the time).

But. . . what about insurance for a cord blood transplant?

Once agreed, George and his doctors were anxious to move forward with the cord blood transplant. But, remember this was 2006 and this was a clinical trial in which George was participating. He now had to get the insurance company to support this decision. It was not easy. Initially, he was told no.

IMPORTANT:  Luckily today, many insurance policies do cover cord blood transplants just as they would for a bone marrow transplant. The FDA has approved the use of cord blood stem cells for over 80 different diseases including many blood cancers. If you are being advised by your doctors that a cord blood transplant could be a possible form of treatment for you or a member of your family, please speak with your insurance provider before proceeding.

George would not accept no. He pushed forward with the bureaucracy of getting proper insurance coverage for the procedure. Finally, just before Christmas in 2006, he got a call from his contact at the insurance company. Success! He could schedule the transplant.

George immediately made arrangements with Dr. Kebriaei. The New Year would be the start of a new life!

His double cord blood transplant was scheduled for March 14th, 2007.

“The cord blood transplant was issued to me just like a blood transfusion. . . with no real side effects. . . Some patients did indeed suffer from graft versus host disease which can be extremely painful and stressful. I was blessed beyond belief in my whole situation,” recalls George.

Patients who receive a cord blood transplant do not experience Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD). True or False?

Definition of Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD): A disease caused when cells from a donated stem cell graft attack the normal tissue of the transplant patient. Symptoms include jaundice, skin rash or blisters, a dry mouth, or dry eyes. Also called graft-versus-host disease. (Source: National Cancer Institute, Cancer.gov )

False, but cases of GvHD after a cord blood transplant are much less frequent and usually easier to treat than after a bone marrow transplant. In George’s case, he did not experience any GvHD.

Thirty days of isolation post-transplant went by and George’s immune system began to rebuild itself.
Everyone, including George, was amazed by his recovery. He left the hospital with a strict list of instructions to follow post-transplant. George emphasizes that patients “need to follow this last advice from their doctors to the letter. I believe in it. . . just too important not to do it.”

For the next 6-months, the team at MD Anderson asked that George remain nearby so that they could follow his progress post-transplant. This is sometimes the case with clinical trials. George was lucky. His father-in-law was able to stay with him in Texas for the duration of this process. His wife and kids came to visit as often as they could. But, it goes without saying, George has been eternally grateful to his family for their support and considers himself to be exceptionally fortunate to have such a loving family.

Finally, George returned home. Post-transplant, post-hurricane . . . he started to put his life together again and pretty soon his battle with leukemia became a thing of the past. He began working again. A die-hard sports fan, he currently works for the Biloxi Shuckers, a Double-A Minor League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, where he handles the instant replays of the games for the video production team.

Biloxi Shuckers George Cannette

George on the job at Biloxi Shuckers, affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

In 2012, five years following his cord blood transplant, George was finally declared “cancer free.”

His advice to doctors and expectant parents regarding cord blood preservation comes as no surprise,

“It is hard for me to believe some doctors are skeptical about cord blood. I understand with parents because not many people follow research and advances in these medical fields. I know I didn’t. But, you cannot be afraid of new technologies in medicine today. If the doctor believes this type of treatment is what they need then they should believe in that doctor and have a very open mind about it.”


biloxi shuckers baseball team MLB affiliate milwaukee brewers His advice to those suffering from cancer is equally sincere,

“My advice for someone currently diagnosed is to seek out the most experienced cancer doctor that specializes in the field of the exact cancer they are diagnosed with. Do not be afraid to ask questions no matter what the answer might be. By all means, do exactly what your doctor tells you to do.”


We could not agree more, George. We must be willing to ask questions and we must be willing to listen. Both patients and doctors must be willing to take calculated risks when necessary.

But, most importantly, parents must be willing to save their child’s cord blood at birth. If not, the opportunity is lost! Literally, a life-saving medical resource is thrown in the trash. Just imagine if the families who donated the cords of their babies in George’s case had not done so. His story would have ended years ago.

George’s story is remarkable. He was given a rare opportunity to participate in clinical trial using cord blood. His participation in this trial not only helped himself but provided hope for countless others.

Today, a cord blood transplant for leukemia is no longer considered experimental and, in fact, recent studies show it is more effective than bone marrow in treating leukemia. Approved by the FDA, cord blood is being used to treat over 80 different diseases including leukemia, sickle cell anemia and lymphoma.

Likewise, today, the current procedure does not require 30 days of isolation as it did years ago in George’s case. Doctors know more now and understand more about the body is going to react. Patients are often released within 2-3 days. For some, it can be less. For some, it may be more. Each case is different but amazing progress has been made in a relatively short time.

Biloxi Shuckers MLB group photo night out

Now, that we know the value of cord blood stem cells and recognize it as a true medical resource, we must go the next step . . . to SAVE it!

Currently, well over 90% of cord blood is thrown away in hospitals around the world, every day. Meanwhile, people are waiting for donors. Children are being diagnosed with illnesses or are suffering from injuries where their own cord blood could be used to help them (example: Duke is running clinical trials using a child’s own cord blood to treat cerebral palsy; Sutter in California is exploring the use of a child’s own cord blood to treat autism. . . the list goes on.)

Isn’t it sad that so few people are stop to think about cord blood when pregnant? We prefer to dream about strollers and cribs. Important, yes. But, perhaps not as life-changing as preserving cord blood.

If you are pregnant, stop. Think. Find a way to either donate or privately store your baby’s cord blood.
Use the resources on our website to help you in your search. Be empowered. Work with a doctor and a hospital that supports your choice.

Give life twice. #SAVETHECORD.

We Can I Can: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood


We are so grateful to George Cannette for sharing his amazing story with us as part of our on-going #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood series in association with World Cancer Day.

George is truly an inspiration to us at Save the Cord Foundation. We think about him and people like him with every outreach effort we make. Thank you, George!

Learn more about how cord blood is being used to fight cancer!
Read more from #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood:

Did you know?

A recent study by the University of Colorado showed that cord blood transplants easily outperform bone marrow transplants in patients with regards to Graft vs. Host Disease (GvHD).  The study compared leukemia patients from 2009-2014, three years post-transplant. They observed that. . .

“. . . the incidence of severe chronic graft-versus-host disease was 44 percent in patients who had received transplants from matched, unrelated donors (MUD) and 8 percent in patients who had received umbilical cord blood transplants (CBT). Patients who received CBT were also more likely to no longer need immunosuppression and less likely to experience late infections and hospitalizations. There was no difference in overall survival between these two techniques.”

Read more about this study.

One Person’s Trash is Another’s Treasure: 3-Time Cancer Survivor, Nathan Mumford, Visits Baltimore

One Person’s Trash is Another’s Treasure: 3-Time Cancer Survivor, Nathan Mumford, Visits Baltimore

UPDATED:  On August 4th, 2016, Save the Cord Foundation joined Nathan Mumford (KEM Foundation) and the Cord for Life Foundation to speak with doctors and nurses directly in Baltimore, Maryland about the need to save cord blood.  The group visited Mercy Medical Center and Saint Agnes Hospital. Both of these hospitals actively collect cord blood for public donation via the Cord for Life Foundation.



The importance of public cord blood banking (or also known as “cord blood donation”) is often overlooked by the media.  Parents often realize too late that they could have donated their child’s cord blood at birth and potentially saved the life of someone in need. Save the Cord Foundation is working to change this.

On August 4th, 2016, Save the Cord Foundation will be in Baltimore, Maryland with 3-time cancer survivor, Nathan Mumford, to spotlight the wonderful opportunity expectant mothers have to donate umbilical cord blood.  Baltimore’s own Mercy Medical Center has an active public cord blood donation program where expectant mothers’ can give life twice and donate their newborn’s for blood to save a life. 

The stem cells in cord blood are powerful. Similar to bone marrow (and sometimes better), cord blood stem cells can be used to treat and/or cure over 80 life threatening diseases like leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia. Cord Blood stem cells are used much like a bone marrow stem cells to rebuild a diseased immune system. Cord blood is much easier to match than bone marrow and has a significantly lower risk of Graft-versus-Host Disease (GVHD). Yet, unfortunately, cord blood is thrown out 97% of the time as medical waste when a baby is born.

Meet Nathan Mumford. He is one of the many reasons we need to save and donate cord blood.  Nathan’s life was saved thanks to a cord blood transplant.  Nathan has fought cancer three times and won. Yet, as an African-American, Nathan faced a challenge known to many. . . it was impossible to find a bone marrow donor who matched when he needed it most. His doctors did not give up. Cord blood was the answer.

“Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell disease that can be treated with the stem cells extracted from blood extracted from the umbilical cord of newborns. Doctors can match cord blood to a patient and then transplant it to potentially save a life,” said Dr. Robert Atlas, OB/GYN, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Medical Center. Dr. Atlas will also be available for interview. For more information about cord blood donation at Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com.

Currently, individuals of minority and blended ethnicities are dramatically under-represented on worldwide public registries for bone marrow/cord blood. Yet, over 40% of all individuals who need a transplant are of blended or minority ethnicity. Collecting cord blood from newborn’s of minority or blended ethnicity raises the chances that we can help facilitate more transplants.

In fact, cord blood donation is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Cord blood donation should be encouraged when the cord blood is stored in a bank for public use,” (source: Cord Blood Banking for Potential Future Transplantation, Jan 2007, Vol 119 / Issue 1; http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/165 ).

Nathan’s visit to Baltimore is a wake-up call to the local community of parents, doctors and nurses to understand how valuable cord blood is as a medical resource. Join us on August 4th to save a life!

Notes for Editors

Public cord blood donation is being made possible
at these Baltimore area hospitals
thanks to the Cord for Life Foundation.


Research to Reality: More Highlights from Cord Blood World Europe 2016

Continued from page one. 

Moving cord blood research from the lab to reality, parents and health professionals need to understand the evolving landscape of the cord blood industry. The following are additional highlights from the Cord Blood World Europe Congress 2016 held in London:

  • Improving cord blood’s lifesaving power – Dr. Filippo Milano:  The more we use cord blood to treat patients, the more we learn. As with any medicine or treatment, we are always trying to make it better. That is the exact focus of the cord blood program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

    Dr. Coleen Delaney and Dr. Filippo Milano are leading the way in improving outcomes for transplant patients. With more than 300 cord blood transplants to date, Dr. Milano confirmed. . .

    Outcomes for our patients reflect this effort, with survival rates equivalent to patients receiving unrelated donor bone marrow or peripheral blood hematopoietic cell transplants.

    Likewise, the team has been instrumental in finding ways multiply or expand the number of stem cells in each cord blood donation. This is a breakthrough discovery which could potentially benefit patients around the world undergoing a transplant or chemotherapy. Learn more about the Cord Blood Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center here.

  • Expanded Use of Public Cord Blood Banked Units – Dr. Beth Shaz:  As the Chief Medical Officer for the world’s first and largest public cord blood bank, New York Blood Center’s National Cord Blood Program (NCBP), Dr. Shaz was quick to highlight the many uses for donated cord blood. She also pointed to cell expansion techniques of human cord blood progenitor cells that are now available and promise to improve patient outcomes.

    The NCBP is always looking for additional ways to use cord blood. Dr. Shaz mentioned the possibility of creating the next generation of products from high quality public cord blood units through the reprogramming of CD34+ cells into pluripotent stem cells. Learn more about the New York Blood Center’s National Cord Blood Program here.
  • Need for More Cord Blood Donations from Ethnic Minorities – Dr. Moshe Israeli: 
    Dr Moshe Israeli, Public Cord Blood Banking

    Dr. Moshe Israeli, Quality Manager, Bedomaich Chayi Public Cord Blood Bank

    The world’s population is mixing more and more everyday. This is a beautiful thing. A wonderful new blend of cultures and ethnicities is being created. However, for patients in need of a stem cell transplant this blending creates a major challenge! Finding a match in this new “blended” world can be extremely difficult. Luckily, cord blood has fewer matching criteria than bone marrow but that does not make it “one size fits all.”

    Until science proves otherwise, cord blood must still be matched to the recipient. As with bone marrow, we are constantly faced with a challenge to attract ethnic minority donors. Dr. Israeli demonstrated this by using a case from his cord blood bank in Israel. He highlighted how much faster the Israeli population is “blending” as compared to other parts of the world.

    Learn more about the Bedomaich Chayi Public Cord Blood Bank here.

  • Bringing True Social Change – NEXT GENERATION: Cord Blood – Charis Ober:  The state of Arizona has served as a learning lab for the cord blood movement. Ms. Ober discussed her experience as a cord blood educator and emphasized the necessity for teaching our youth about the science behind cord blood, how it is being used currently, the exciting research that is happening in the field and the potential for STEM careers in this area. Save the Cord Foundation officially launched the NEXT GENERATION: Cord Blood program globally at the London conference ( #NEXTGENERATION )

    This program is unique in that it provides easy to use educational tools adapted for each age group. The program is open to all schools (from kindergarten to university level). It is a non-commercial program supported and promoted through official partners of the program better known as “Cord Blood Education Champions.” Find out more about NEXT GENERATION: Cord Blood here.

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We wish to thank the team at Cord Blood World Europe 2016 for their hard work and bringing together so many leading experts in the cord blood industry. #CordBloodEu 

Support cord blood education.
Please make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation to Save the Cord Foundation
so that we can continue to educate parents, health professionals and the #NEXTGENERATION!

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From Research to Reality: More Cord Blood Needed

From Research to Reality: More Cord Blood Needed

More cord blood is needed. Groundbreaking potential treatments are quickly moving their way from research to reality.  This was the main message we heard from cord blood experts at the recent Cord Blood World Europe Congress in London.

Indeed, the world of cord blood may find itself shocked by a sudden increase in demand thanks to promising new applications if we do not start to prepare ourselves.  

You are probably aware that cord blood is already being used around the world to treat over 80 different diseases including many blood cancers. There is no doubt that as more doctors become aware of the distinct advantages of cord blood versus other treatments and drugs, we will inevitably see an increase in the demand for cord blood. This increase in usage will also rely on improvements in logistics related to cord blood collection and processing.

Yet, the most significant increase in demand for cord blood could potentially come from the encouraging research and clinical trials based on using cord blood to treat things like spinal cord injury (#sci), cerebral palsy and autism.

Just a note on the cord blood industry in 2016. . .

We all agree that the cord blood industry is still relatively young when compared to other health industries. As such, it still has lots of room for improvement.

The good news is that improvement is happening as more banks are recognizing the need for proper accreditation, doctors are becoming more familiar with the cord blood transplant process (how to prepare, what to expect, . . .), costs are coming down as banks are learning how to be more efficient, public banks are starting to find support from governments and generous donors, etc.

The industry is maturing. There will be some cord blood banks that don’t survive this next evolution in the industry. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and that is what we saw at the Cord Blood World Europe congress.

Parents need to understand this evolving landscape in order to anticipate how their child’s cord blood might be used. Depending on your particular family’s needs or priorities, you may choose to publicly donate or family bank your child’s cord blood. Educate yourself. Choose wisely.

For parents and health professionals alike, we would like to give you a few highlights from this conference ( #CordBloodEu ). Some of the speakers you may recognize from our Share the Science series or the NEXT GENERATION: Cord Blood program.

  • A Look at the Future of Cord Blood Banking – Dr. Eliane Gluckman:  As the first doctor in the world to perform a cord blood transplant in 1988, Dr. Gluckman gave an overview of the potential future uses for cord blood and discussed possible areas of improvement for the industry. Dr. Gluckman has been instrumental in showing that cord blood can be used to treat leukemia and she laid the groundwork for many of the processes currently accepted worldwide.
  • Using Cord Blood for Spinal Cord Injury – Dr. Wise Young:  Presenting groundbreaking research using cord blood to treat spinal cord injury, Dr. Young was quick to point out that there are numerous clinical trials (including his own) using cord blood currently and many are having encouraging results. He discussed successes in his own research using a combination of cord blood, lithium and exercise to potentially treat chronic spinal cord injury, giving patients the ability to walk again and regain other bodily functions. Dr. Young confirmed that 75% of his patients in initial studies regained the ability to walk following his treatment.  His research is now in Phase II trials to confirm these results in the United States, India and China.

    Learn more by visiting the official site for the W. M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience (Division of Life Sciences at Rutgers University). Dr. Young encourages families and patients affected by spinal cord injury to visit the Keck Center during open days and workshops to learn more about their options for treatment. Online you can also join in discussions with others at CareCure.org.
  • Using Cord Blood to Help the Brain (Cerebral palsy, autism, etc.) – Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg:  The work of Dr. Kurtzberg has garnered international attention. Based at Duke University, she has spent years studying how cord blood can potentially help the brain heal following an acquired or genetic brain injury. Her presentation showed examples of several children she has helped throughout the years using cord blood.  To date, her clinical trials have focused on intravenous infusions of autologous cord blood (using one’s own cord blood). Efficacy studies are also underway in babies with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and young children with cerebral palsy, congenital hydrocephalus and autism.
    You can learn more about Dr. Kurtzberg’s clinical trial at Duke University Medical Center here.


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Now, it’s your turn parents!

Being a parent today is not easy. Being an expectant parent may be even harder as you face numerous questions about your family’s future. You are faced with many unknowns. Yet, giving birth is a time of empowerment. You have a unique (and fleeting) opportunity to give life twice. Whether you donate or private bank your child’s cord blood, we ask you to please be pro-active. Be ready to challenges the myths and misunderstandings about cord blood. The truth is…it could save a life.

Learn more about your options and the key questions to ask. Start here. . .

Give life twice. Save cord blood.

Get the facts. Save the cord.


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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