In August 2016, 10-year-old Lucas*, the eldest among his three other siblings, suddenly fell into a state where he constantly felt lethargic and had a poor appetite for no apparent reason. He also experienced significant weight loss, with bouts of fever and vomiting over the next three consecutive weeks. Lucas’s persistent condition was alarming and he was advised by his family physician to go to a hospital for treatment.
Lucas’s condition did not improve even after seeking treatment at different hospitals. Finally after enduring numerous blood draws for a myriad of blood tests at the hospitals, Lucas was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia.
When we found out Lucas has chronic myeloid leukaemia, we were crushed,
said Lucas’s father.
Lucas’s parents started to look for treatment options for Lucas and were advised that the success rate of using cord blood stem cells for transplant is higher as compared to using bone marrow stem cells.
We love Lucas dearly and every chance of success is important to us. We decided to proceed with cord blood stem cell transplant instead of bone marrow stem cell transplant.
said Lucas’s parents.
Thankfully, Lucas’s parents stored cord blood of his two siblings with Stemlife at birth. Much to his parents’ relief, their younger son turned out to be a perfect match for Lucas. The ensuing cord blood transplant went smoothly in early 2018 in Kuala Lumpur. “I cannot understand why cord blood is discarded as medical waste every day,” said Lucas’s father. “Cord blood saved our son.”
As Lucas’s father is the sole breadwinner of the family, the cost of treatment took a huge toll on him and the family. Fortunately, they were accepted into the Malaysia Patient Assistance Program (MYPAP), a financial assistance scheme which helped them defray high medical cost. As a client of Stemlife, Lucas’s family also received a lump sum subsidy under the company’s StemShieldPlus Program.
The entire treatment cost was truly overwhelming for me. We are really grateful to receive monetary assistance from Stemlife and from MYPAP, which helped to reduce my financial burden greatly,
said Lucas’s father.
As of November 2018, Lucas is in remission and will be returning to school in a couple of months. His family hopes that Lucas’s story will help to encourage more expectant parents to make the right decision to store their baby’s cord blood as an added protection for their family.
*name has been changed to protect the privacy of the child.
StemLife | How does Cord Blood Benefit Our Children in the Future?
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following the birth of a baby. This precious blood is a rich source of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which can be used in the treatment of more than 80 life-threatening disorders such as blood cancers, solid tumours and immunodeficiency disorders.
After the delivery of the baby, the doctor will clamp the umbilical cord and drain cord blood into a blood bag. The entire process is safe, risk-free and painless to both mother and baby.
The cost of storing baby’s cord blood is as low as RM1 per day*, which is less than the cost of a cup of coffee in some parts of Malaysia.
As a parent, there is nothing more important than to protect our child. You can have greater peace of mind by storing your baby’s unique cord blood stem cells, a resource that can be only be collected at birth. If you’re expecting a baby now, arrange for a discussion with Stemlife now to discuss your options.
Established in 2001, StemLife (“the Company”) is the first private cord blood stem cell bank fully licensed under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (PHFS) Act 1998 by the Ministry of Health Malaysia. Today, more than 60,000 families in Malaysia have already entrusted their baby’s cord blood stem cells with StemLife. The Company is the only cord blood bank in Malaysia that offers the cryopreservation of three cell lines from the umbilical cord and umbilical cord lining.
StemLife is a majority-owned subsidiary of Singapore Exchange Mainboard-listed Cordlife Group Limited (“the Group”). The Group owns the largest network of cord blood banking facilities in six countries namely; Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India and the Philippines. The Group also has an indirect stake in the largest cord blood bank in Thailand as well as marketing presence in Vietnam and Myanmar.
StemLife has successfully released 16 cord blood units for transplantation and assisted in over 500 stem cell applications. As a whole, the Group has released 45 cord blood units to 15 healthcare institutions in 10 countries. In early 2018, StemLife received accreditation from AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks) – one of the world’s gold standard specific for cord blood collection, testing, processing and storage.
Parents banking with an AABB accredited bank can be assured that the best possible cord blood unit has been qualified, collected, tested, processed and stored in accordance with the latest international standard.
To learn more about the benefits of cord blood banking, please click here to download StemLife info pack.
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This story was sponsored by StemLife Berhad.