The State of Texas is pioneering a cord blood bank, supported in large part by money from taxpayers. Just as we bank our blood and are very unlikely to need it, new mothers and fathers can bank their new infant’s cord blood. He, too, is very unlikely to need a transfusion or treatment. But, some other child, adult, or many children and adults may benefit by the parents’ generosity.
Here are some of the stories about treatments – if not “cures,” they sure look like them – from the article linked above,
Justice Hampton, a 23-year-old recent graduate of Stanford University, was diagnosed, in 1999 at age 15, with leukemia. This track and field athlete received several rounds of chemotherapy, went into remission, but then relapsed. Instead of beginning his junior year at W.T. White High School, he once again, began an aggressive treatment of chemotherapy and radiation. As a last resort and because his sister was not a bone marrow match, Justice received a cord blood transplant in January 2000. Weighing 107 lbs at age 16, Justice was the largest recipient of cord blood. Amazingly, he recovered quite well and fairly quickly. He returned to high school for his senior year and packed two years into one, graduating with honors. Currently, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, Justice is an intern in the Dallas County District Attorney’s office this summer, plans to take the LSAT law school entrance exam soon and attend law school in the near future.
Kristina Hill, 18, just graduated from high school in Tyler. Shortly after her 10th birthday, she was diagnosed with leukemia. She spent six months receiving chemotherapy, was in remission for nine months and then just before she began 5th grade, she relapsed. After a month of chemotherapy, her doctors told her parents about cord blood transplants. None of her family members were bone marrow matches, so she received an anonymous cord blood transplant. Although it took her a year to get back on track, she entered the 7th grade in public school. In July she and her family celebrated the sixth anniversary of her transplant. She graduated No. 10 in her high school class and plans to attend Tyler Junior College this fall, studying graphic design.
In 2002, Victoria Fulenwider’s parents questioned why their 2 1/2-year-old daughter began limping. After several diagnoses, an x-ray disclosed a fractured hip. Thinking that it was “a bone thing,” she was placed in a body cast. After several weeks when the bones did not begin to heal, an MRI revealed bone marrow abnormalities. She first saw Carl Lenarsky, MD, in 2003, who diagnosed her with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. She was given a 30 percent chance of survival. That summer the doctors discussed cord blood transplants, a treatment used with leukemia. Victoria was one of the first patients at Medical City with neuroblastoma to receive a cord blood transplant. Within two-to-three weeks, her blood counts began to slowly improve and she never received another blood transfusion. On August 4, she and her family celebrated the third-year anniversary of her transplant. This tiny ballerina, whose favorite character is Polly Pocket, will soon begin first grade at Victor Hector Elementary near White Rock Lake.