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"Your baby saved my life!" Cord blood donation recipient plans to pay it forward

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July is Cord Blood Donation Awareness month and we're shining a light on the amazing impact that 'giving life twice' can have when a newborn's cord blood is donated.

Cord blood is full of stem cells that can help cure more than 80 types of diseases and disorders like Aplastic Anemia, Leukemia and other inherited immune disorders. When a baby's cord blood is donated after birth, it is really giving life twice. 

Crystal, 18, recently graduated from high school and already has plans for a rewarding career as a pediatric oncology nurse - in great part thanks to someone unknown to her who helped save her life when they donated their newborn's cord blood. 

Crystal was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 12. Treated at BC Children's Hospital, the Leukemia went into remission for a couple years and then it relapsed. It was then that she received the transplant of stem cells collected from a newborn's cord blood. 

"Your baby saved my life," is what Crystal says to the family who made possible the stem cell transplant that saved her life, taken from their baby's cord blood.

BC Women's Hospital is one of four hospitals in Canada - and the only one in BC - to collect cord blood donations. In just five easy steps, an expectant mother can arrange to have her baby's cord blood donated. The process is simple, but its impacts are remarkable.

"I received such amazing care by nurses and doctors. I can't donate blood myself, but I can help others as a nurse," says Crystal who will begin her education and training in September. "This is how I can give back and share the amazing gift I received when someone decided to #GiveLifeTwice!"

Whether a donation of a baby's cord blood is stored in the National Cord Blood Bank for use in treating patients with diseases or disorders, or for use in research to uncover new findings that lead to treatments and cures, it is certainly a gift that gives life twice. 

Learn more about how to donate your baby's cord blood and the Canadian Cord Blood Bank. Want to understand how stem cells help? Check out this video.


BC Children's Hospital; BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre; cord blood; babies
 
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