As Poldark fans mourn the end of an era, we celebrate the cord blood therapy that could have changed everything for Dwight and Caroline
Which is worse, burying a child, or leaving one behind? (Poldark S5.1)
Caroline asks Demelza this agonising question as she lays flowers on her daughter’s grave. Close by is Valentine, the little boy who (looking more like Ross every day) has just lost his mother, Elizabeth.
The death of baby Sarah has haunted the 5th series of Poldark. But would Caroline and Dwight’s daughter have survived her heart condition today?
The death of Sarah Caroline Enys
Poldark fans felt the weight of Dwight’s grief in Season 4 as the doctor watched on helplessly as his daughter, Sarah died of a congenital heart condition unsuspected by Sarah’s (secretly) doting mother Caroline. (1)
Poldark heartbreak as baby Sarah dies
Poldark is a guilty pleasure for many of our Biovault Family team, many of who live across the River Tamar from our Plymouth facility, in Cornwall. Sunday night is always an emotional rollercoaster, but this week was particularly moving for our stem cell scientists and client advisors because we know that today, our services could help Sarah.
What was the matter with Sarah Enys?
Congenital heart defects are not uncommon. They affect 8 in 1,000 children born in the UK and occur for many reasons and appear in many forms.
One heart condition that could cause a baby as young as Sarah to die when facing a common infection is hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). In HLHS the left side of the heart doesn’t develop properly so the body is starved of oxygen. (2)
Treating congenital heart conditions
Umbilical cord blood stem cells are now being used in conjunction with heart surgery to strengthen the muscles of the heart and promote recovery in HLHS patients.
“The key is stem cells, but not just any stem cells”
At the Mayo Clinic in the US, baby Ryall has recently undergone the cord blood therapy. His parents are delighted. “A lot of children don’t make it past three months,” his father says, but the new therapy, adds Ryall’s mother, has “given me hope”.
Ryall’s cells were injected without any problems and his Dad says it feels like “a superhero” has stepped into battle for Ryalls.
The Mayo clinic has succeeded in giving the family a hopeful future: “They finally have what they feared they never would: a sense of normalcy and a chance to dream about Ryalls’ future.”
“Ryalls continues to need minor procedures to maintain the health of his heart. But now, instead of fear and worry filling the Sextons’ home, a baby’s laughter does.”(3)
To store your baby’s stem cells, click here
To discover the other conditions treated with cord blood stem cells, click here
BSc (Hons) Microbiology
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.