NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving surprised a few new proud parents at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center.
Erving was thanking the couples’ for being the first to bank their newborn babies’ umbilical cord blood. It’s all part of a brand-new partnership with the hospital and CORD: USE.
“New hospital, new venue, new partnership, new donors and others will see this and they’ll be inclined to want to follow because that’s how people are,” Erving said.
He, along with some of the top leading cord blood experts, discussed the public and private cord blood banking options parents now have with CORD: USE during a hospital presentation Tuesday.
“This is blood that after the cord has been clamped and cut and baby is safely in the pediatrician’s or mom’s hands, that used to be discarded as medical waste, is highly concentrated in stem cells and can be used to treat over 70 diseases,” said Dr. Edward Guindi, CORD:USE President.
“Spreading the word is really critically, despite the fact that there have been over 30,000 transplants,” Guindi continued.
Matthew Farrow, who received the world’s first successful umbilical cord blood transplant in 1988 at the age of 5, and Stephen Sprague, one of the world’s first adult patients to benefit from this type of transplant, were also at the event.
These two are living proof cord blood saves lives.
“Being a father, I can’t thank them enough that they did that,” Farrow said. “I can’t thank the doctors who discovered this and brought this option to our family.”
“[What] people don’t understand is you can have a bone marrow transplant, but you have to go into a registry,” Dr. Hal Broxmeyer said. “You don’t store the bone marrow.
“The cord blood is there ready for use,” Broxmeyer continued. If you’re lucky enough to find a match or close enough match and because cord blood is more forgiving, it’s easier to use.”
Broxmeyer is recognized as a founder of the field of cord blood stem cell banking and transplantation.
“Now what we’re trying to do is figure out how to better use the cells,” Broxmeyer said. “How to make the transplants more efficient, more efficacious and to be able to treat pretty much anybody who has a blood disorder.”
This is why the Mosers and the Fencls believe donating is so important.
“CORD:USE came up because they, from what I saw were leaders in the field with how they bank it,” said Jennifer Moser, who is banking both of her babies’ cord blood privately. “It was a no-brainer for us.”
“I think the more lives that can be saved and the more research that can be done is excellent and to be apart of that is kind of neat,” said Michelle Fencl, who plans to donate her newborn son’s cord blood to the public bank.
CORD: USE was chosen by the U.S. Department of Health as one of the highest quality cord blood banks to help build the National Cord Blood Inventory.