A Donor’s Story: Lisa Lavallie talks to mothers about donating their cord blood every day. As a donor, she tries to reach as many as she can with her message: "This is the gift of life we can give to others, there's no price we can put on that."
"Nine out of 10 moms decide to donate once they find out that donating umbilical cord blood is painless and easy. It does not involve the baby at all. But," she says "we need more education."
Lisa finds that often mothers are discouraged by the thought of donating when they hear the words stem cells. They automatically associate "stem cells" to controversy and think negatively of it. But stem cells from umbilical cord blood aren't controversial, she says.
Cord blood is taken after the birth of a healthy baby, collected from the placenta or afterbirth (material that would otherwise be discarded). Rich in blood forming cells, cord blood is used to treat fatal diseases like leukemia and other blood cancers.
A Recipient’s Story: Leslie Lucio dreamed of moving to the big city to attend college. Four months into her journey, her ambitions stalled when she was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
After treatments failed, her doctor said she only had a year to live and a marrow or cord blood match was needed to save her. She received the news she hoped for: a match had been found in cord blood. Leslie is back pursuing her dreams with her new immune system, living cancer free.
What is the Texas Cord Blood Bank (TCBB)? It is a public, non-profit ¬¬cord blood bank that is a source of ethnically diverse, life-saving umbilical cord blood.
How can I donate? Giving Life, a pilot program, offers expectant mothers the opportunity to donate their baby’s cord blood and still deliver their baby at the hospital of their choice. TCBB has been selected as a site to participate in this pilot project which opens cord blood donation to everyone. A mother who plans to give birth at a non-participating hospital can request a cord blood collection kit from TCBB.
Who do I contact? There is no cost to you. Everything that is needed for the collection will be provided for you before you deliver. To request the enrollment forms and to talk to the nurse coordinator, contact TCBB at 1-800-292-5534 ext. 1258 or visit www.southtexasblood.org.
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