My Child has Leukemia–What Can I Do?

No one who hasn’t had a seriously ill child can possibly imagine what it’s like to hear that your child’s life is in danger (and I say that as one who has been blessed with three remarkably healthy children). But in this guest post, Erin Miller gives all of us some valuable information that, hopefully, we’ll never need. But just in case….

The Leukemia Research Foundation has found that leukemia accounts for 33% of all cases of cancer in children 0 to 14 years of age. At the present time researchers do not know the direct causes, but only the circumstances that increase the possibilities of a community’s children getting this type of cancer. The most common type of leukemia in childhood is acute lymphoblastic. Acute means the cancer has a rapid onset. Lymphoblastic is a type of white blood cell that is not mature yet. White blood cells are the entities that fight germs and keep your body healthy. Immature white blood cells do not have the mechanisms yet to fight the germs. So often in leukemia a child dies from some other infection that their body was unable fight off due to the cancer weakening their health.

Survival Highly Likely

Leukemia is a blood cancer. Leukemia is no longer a death sentence. Since 1969 there has been a 66% decrease in the mortality rates. Survival rates are high because of the use of blood cord cells. What are these lifesaving blood cord cells that are working miracles everyday with children? Before a child is born all nutrition and life is given and sustained through a cord called the placenta. The placenta has special blood cells that ensure babies get all they need to grow healthy and strong.

Cord Blood

After a woman gives birth the placenta detaches from her, but it is filled with these special cord blood cells. Cord blood consists of blood-forming stem cells like those found in bone marrow. Stem cells create all other blood cells. Collecting cord blood gives a large blood bank of stem cells available for use. The only other means of collecting stem cells is puncturing the hip bone or femur to the bone marrow. This is an exceedingly painful procedure that does not yield the quality or amount of stem cells that the placenta does. More than 80 different diseases of the blood or immune system are treated by cord blood. Not only do mothers give the gift of life to their own babies by donating their placentas to doctors; they give life to many other babies as well.

Cord Blood Banks

As the news and research results have spread, private foundations and the government has created cord blood banks. One of the largest is New York Blood Center’s National Cord Blood Program which started in 1992. It has more than 50,000 banked cord blood units, and is the largest non-profit public cord bank in the world. Mothers can donate their placenta to a collaborating hospital in New York, Virginia, and Ohio to become part of the New York Blood Center Program. The National Marrow Donor Program at their website also gives a state by state list of where to donate your placenta nationally.

Links

National Marrow Donor http://marrow.org/Home.aspx

National Cord Blood Program http://www.nationalcordbloodprogram.org/

Public Cord Blood Banks http://www.savethecordfoundation.org/banking_public_list.php

More Can Be Done

The uses of cord blood have not been fully explored yet. Some legal issues must be dealt with first. Placentas are normally medical waste, but at the same time they are actually owned by the woman giving birth. It is part of their body and big money is being made off of their placentas. At the same time donation is an option if one wishes to help someone today. More studies are being done, and the results are extremely positive on the diseases that experimental research has been done upon. Cord blood use is in the process of being explored as a cure for the diseases commonly seen in senior populations as well. The miracle of life that started in pregnancies now continues long after babies are born and nearly grown. Cord blood may become one of the main cures to many of our chronic diseases.

Erin Miller is a Copywriter and Social Media Coordinator with Mountainside Medical Equipment, Inc. in Marcy, NY. Well-versed in Marketing, Erin enjoys researching and writing about current health related topics and products to share with Mountainside’s online community.

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