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Stem cells for cerebral palsy

When you store stem cells, it’s like carrying an umbrella on a day that starts out fine. You don’t think you’ll need it, you hope you won’t need it, but there’s no predicting some rain showers.

Save the Cord Foundation was established to help parents to prepare for those unexpected bad spells that life can throw at us. They have a simple message: Cord Blood Saves Lives.

In this post, Save the Cord introduce Luke, a little boy helped with cord blood stem cells.

“Sometimes parents think that private banking isn’t a necessity and that they could spend their money elsewhere. New parents are quick to purchase expensive cribs and other baby accessories for their newborn, but why not save core blood? Many are quick to say that it’s too expensive, will probably never be used, etc. But, each family is different. Ultimately, you may decide that private banking is right for you based on advice from your doctor or perhaps your family’s medical history. Every family deserves to know their options and has a right to choose. Educate yourself. Be empowered.

I want to share a story with you about an amazing little boy and his parents, who saved his own cord blood privately when he was born. They had no idea if it would ever be used. Indeed, they hoped it never would.

Rachel Fryer and her husband had privately banked their first child’s cord blood and decided to also save their second son’s (Luke) cord blood. After Luke was born, Rachel shared her concerns with the doctor that he wasn’t meeting his developmental milestones. He had trouble sitting up, didn’t use his right arm, kept his right hand tightly fisted by his side, and didn’t crawl. When Luke was one the paediatrician gave them a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, most likely caused by a stoke that happened in the womb.”

“Luke’s parents learned about the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial from the private cord blood bank they used to store Luke’s cord blood at birth.”

“Rachel and her husband were devastated. She began to read about some new research using a child’s own umbilical cord blood in cases of stroke and cerebral palsy. Rachel had saved her son’s cord blood and called the private bank where her son’s cord blood was stored. She was told about a clinical trial underway at Duke University in North Carolina that involved using umbilical cord blood stem cells to treat brain injury.

“You only have one chance to save cord blood and tissue”

Rachel contacted Dr Joanne Kurtzberg, who is a pioneer in the development of innovative stem cell therapies, including umbilical cord blood transplants and transfusions. At 15 months old, Luke received his own cord blood at the Duke clinic. Within a few weeks, Luke began to use his right arm. His balance also improved and within two months, he started walking unassisted. His progress was gradual but steady and today, four years later, Luke is running, walking and living an active life of a 6-year-old boy.

Luke lives here in Tucson and is leading a normal active life. His parents are thankful that they saved his cord blood and were able to use it to treat his cerebral palsy. Parents need to know that privately banking cord blood is a good investment in their baby’s future. We also don’t know the upcoming cellular advancements surrounding autologous cord blood will be discovered and utilized in the future. You only have one chance to save cord blood and tissue.”


This article was originally published by Save the Cord Foundation on 10th May 2018. All images from Save the Cord Foundation.

BSc (Hons) Microbiology

Chief Executive Officer | Biovault Family

Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.

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Our hope is that the information in this brochure will empower you as you weigh-up your cord blood and tissue storage options and prepare for your family’s healthy future.