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How Cord Blood Banking Helped Save My Child

ByThe Bump Editors|Updated March 2, 2017
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Image: Photo Courtesy of NECBB

This is a sponsored blog post and testimonial provided by New England Cord Blood Bank, a pioneer in cord blood banking with over 30 years of experience in the industry.

When Cameron Perlish was born, her mom Leighsa knew that life would never be the same. But for her, it wasn’t the usual new mom concerns of “will I ever sleep again?”, or, “am I feeding my baby enough?” She was faced with fears that no new mom can ever prepare for. Her new daughter Cameron had a rare genetic disorder known as Fanconi Anemia (FA). FA is an inherited type of anemia that leads to bone marrow failure. Doctors gave Cameron’s mom a grim prognosis, noting that many children with FA do not reach adulthood.

When Cameron was 9 years old, she was tiring easily and feeling the strain of an immune system that was not supporting her body well. She needed a stem cell transplant, and she needed it soon.

Leighsa had fortunately saved all three of her children’s cord blood - even before she knew there might be a life and death need for it. She had researched the procedure and learned that when saved at birth, the umbilical cord, being rich with stem cells, can provide treatment of more than 80 diseases. And with its long history in the field, Leighsa decided to bank at New England Cord Blood Bank.

In the case of FA, Cameron’s own banked cells wouldn’t help - her transplant would need to come from a matched donor. Since cord blood stem cells can often be shared within a family even when it is not a perfect match, her brother Conlan’s stored stem cells would be her donor. Cameron’s long road to recovery began with aggressive chemotherapy to completely destroy her failing blood system in preparation for the infusion of healthy stem cells stored from Conlan. Throughout the process, she was inspiring. Leighsa recalls, “Cameron ate, played, and continued to be a trooper through her stay in the hospital.” After the precious cells were transferred, Cameron’s blood counts began to rise and began to form a new Fanconi Anemia-free blood supply.

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Today, Cameron is a bubbly and very appreciative 12 year old. She lives a typical middle school life, enjoying friends, shopping and a little make-up every now and then. She laughs as she swings her new “post-chemo” curls, at how she is now “part Cameron - part Conlan.”

Leighsa says, “I am thankful for New England Cord Blood Bank, Cameron’s physicians, and all of the brilliant minds researching stem cell treatment. And of course, my children, one of which would not be here right now if it weren’t for this miracle.”

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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