I am all about precautions. My purse is always stocked with breath mints, wipes, snacks and Tide to Go. I always buy travel insurance for big trips. I always have a back-up outfit in my office in case of a last minute soiree. You get the TYPE A picture? So, when my doctor told me about cord blood banking during my second pregnancy in 2005, I was fascinated. I was told that Viacord would collect and store the stem cells from my baby’s umbilical cord which could be used in the treatment of diseases like leukemia, immune system deficiencies, cancer and blood disorders. Cord blood preservation has saved thousands of lives. Though I hated to let my mind wander to the dark side of life threatening issues, I wanted the peace of mind that if—God forbid-something happen to my baby (or her sister), I had a genetic back-up plan that had no risk of rejection. So, I made the investment. It was absolutely painless. Luckily, my family has been healthy and I have not had to ruminate on stem cells. Until I met Tami Byrd.
Viacord-the industry leader in cord blood banking and research- approached me to host an event in Miami entitled A NIGHT OF FASHION: LOOK GREAT FROM BUMP TO BABY. Fashion? Miami? Pregnant women? This was right up my alley! I would style and emcee a fashion show with A Pea in the Pod clothing and do one on one consults with guests. And, there would be a presentation by a woman who had-GULP-actually used her cord blood to save her son’s life. As I approached the stage to do the introduction, I spied a cute, trim blonde decked out in a MOMS ROCK t-shirt and groovy ankle boots. She watched with interest as I dished about runway trends, statement accessories and how to maintain one’s fashion identity during pregnancy. Then, she took the stage. The Byrd’s were a model family. And, a new baby was en route! Until her son Blasé experienced unexplained ankle pain. Two days later, this picture perfect family was shattered with the news that Blasé had a rare form of Leukemia. The outlook was bleak; a 30% chance of survival. Months of chemo, spinal taps, blood transfusions and other medical maladies became routine. Luckily, at a pre-natal exam, Tami’s OBGYN discussed Viacord and the many ways that stem cell transplants (from a family member) could treat cancers. Her decision to store her new baby's cord blood (which turned out to be an exact match for Blasé!)saved her sons life.
I was moved to tears but was thankful to have a personal human experience that put a “face” to the miracle of cord blood banking. The rest of the evening was upbeat. I transitioned the mood from cancer to celebrating life and pregnancy and started the fashion show. Life is a journey. Thankfully, we have technological options that offer hope in the most desperate situations. Like Viacord.
FACTS ABOUT CORD BLOOD BANKING