July is National Cord Blood Awareness month! We’re celebrating by spreading the word about cord blood and hosting a virtual balloon release. Cord blood is the term used for the blood collected from the umbilical cord and placenta (after birth) when a healthy baby is born. It is rich in blood-forming cells that can be used in transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and many other life-threatening diseases. Established by the Newborn Umbilical Cord Initiative Act in March 2007, the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas at UAMS is linked to national and international networks of cord blood banks of cells for transplant all over the world.
All cord blood is tremendously valuable. Even if the cord blood does not meet the requirements to be banked, it finds a second life in furthering research. Cord blood has tremendous promise for regenerating diseased or injured organs, including heart muscle, bone and spinal cord tissue. Whereas bone marrow or circulating blood requires near-perfect matches between donor and recipient, cord blood is more adaptable.
Daohong Zhou, M.D., a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the UAMS College of Pharmacy, is investigating the potential for cord blood to treat patients with various hematological diseases, such as leukemia. “We are studying ways to make cord blood transplantation more widely available,” he said. “Primitive cells exist in greater numbers cord blood than in the blood we adults carry, but the total number of cells in cord blood needs to be expanded to be clinically useful. Using donated cord blood, our findings on control of primitive cell expansion may unlock new strategies for transplantation so that we can more effectively treat hematological diseases and malignancies.”
Despite how life-changing cord blood can be for both recipients and research, it is still often discarded due to a lack of understanding about what it means to donate cord blood.
During National Cord Blood Awareness month, we are asking you to help spread the word about the importance of donating cord blood. Please share this with your friends and family and consider a gift to celebrate this month!
Your gift of $1,400 sponsors a Compassionate Needs Storage
A gift to Compassionate Needs Storage would make funds available to assist families that have a medical need to bank their child’s cord blood for family use due to disease or disorder, but do not have sufficient financial means to do so.
Your gift of $150 sponsors a cord blood collection kit.
Collection kits are made available to parents at no cost when they are donating their child’s cord blood to the public bank. Your gift helps to ensure that kits are available to continue collecting these valuable cells.
Your gift of $50 sponsors a ‘virtual balloon’.
Let your support fly high and carry on the message cord blood donation with a ‘virtual balloon’. Our ‘virtual balloons’ represent the uplifting hope and life that cord blood can provide, and they create awareness by spreading the word to others about cord blood donation.
Your gift of any amount may be made in honor, or memory, of someone special.
Gifts of all amounts are appreciated as they go directly to support the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas.
”The birth of a baby holds with it a miracle most parents aren’t aware of – the ability to save a life,” said Donna Wolfe, advisory board chair for the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas. “Cord blood donation is important because it holds the promise of future cures. Your gift celebrates the progress that has been made to date in cord blood treatment and helps ensure cord blood continues to save lives.”
To learn more about the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas and how you can be involved, please go to www.cordbloodbankarkansas.org.