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
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. . .
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
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.
Learn about cord blood helped Deb 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.
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.”
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?
Deb's Smoothie Recipe1 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!