Life-giver and lifesaver \u2013 A day in the life of a stem cell protector. Superheroes come in all shapes, sizes, and professions. Motherhood had the opportunity to catch a superhero in action. This superhero's superpower is to save lives before they even know their lives needed saving. You must be thinking, is there such an occupation? Yes, there is! Vivian Kong works in a clean-room laboratory, where the environment is controlled, so there are almost zero pollutants, such as dust, microbes, chemical vapours, or any other floating particles in its air. In this special laboratory, she handles special living cells, named stem cells, so somebody in the future can use them to save lives. Wow, almost like a Marvel or DC comics movie \u2013 minus the fancy costumes, pseudonyms, and over-the-top plots. Her designation? Assistant Head of Laboratory at CryoCord. On weekdays, she dons her white lab coat, walks about the CryoCord facility at Cyberjaya, and she assists to oversee all aspects of the daily laboratory operations. The eagle eye, principal, leader of the pack \u2013 you name it; she manages the operational lab team \u2013 ensuring that proper practices and procedures are adhered to as per the regulatory and industry requirements. This includes maintaining laboratory equipment performances, troubleshooting procedures, and ensuring staff compliance. Most days, she handles precious stem cell samples that originate from the umbilical cords. Image from CryoCord Malaysia You see, when a mother signs up with CryoCord to have her baby\u2019s umbilical stem cells banked, two types of stem cells can be saved: \tCord blood found in the umbilical cord\u2019s vein \u2013 Cord blood is used to treat disorders related to the blood. \tMesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) found in Wharton\u2019s jelly \u2013 CordMSCs\u00ae can differentiate into many types of cells, such as bone, heart, nerve, muscle, and cartilage used to treat a wide range of injuries and diseases. However, nobody sees what happens after that quick procedure in the delivery room; after the euphoria of receiving their new bub in their arms \u2013 except Vivian. So, we sat down with her to ask a few questions regarding her \u201csuperhero\u201d job at CryoCord and what she really thinks about being one. Do you feel fulfilled at work? Image from CryoCord Malaysia My honest answer is yes and no. But I suppose fulfilment at work presents both good and bad days. I classify bad days as days when I am unable to solve a problem. Sometimes, when I cannot complete what I intend to do that day, I will feel like I am not made for this job. These thoughts make me doubt my skills and abilities to do something great. Having said that, I must not dismiss that most times, I do find fulfilment in what I do. This role that I play in CryoCord is very much aligned with my personal mission \u2013\u00a0to save lives! Vivian and Emeritus Prof. Dr. Cheong Soon Keng at the International Society For Cellular Therapy (ISCT) 2017 annual meeting in London. The thought of how my work will one day be beneficial to someone keeps me attentive when handling client samples, so it can be safe and effective to be used. Every day, my technical skills are sharpened. That is not all. In my supervisory role, I also exercise leadership. I am expected to initiate projects and think creatively as I am involved in the planning, execution, and management of the staff. Were you already working with CryoCord before you had children? What were the challenges you faced? Vivian with her family. I had my first born in 2016. At that time, I have been working with CryoCord for five years. I remember this saying, 'Babies make the days shorter, and the nights longer'. Just like many first-time mothers who would have experienced this, the main challenge is in adjusting to working life, both physically and emotionally. Do you feel like you know more about what happens in your body because you work with a stem cell bank? Working in a stem cell bank does have its benefits, particularly because CryoCord\u2019s clients are mostly pregnant mothers themselves. I come across many internal circulars and articles, mostly about parenthood and babies. There are readily available antenatal classes that I have attended, organised by CryoCord in collaboration with many experts \u2013 gynaecologists, lactation consultants, and even nutritionists. Hence, I would say I am very aware of what was happening in my body if compared to people who are not exposed to the latest scientific findings, prep classes, and the like. What do you want mothers to know about stem cells that you think most do not know about? Not all stem cells are equal. Stem cells do not cure all diseases. Knowing and understanding the fundamentals of stem cells is important before you decide to store them and when deciding to use stem cells in future. Image from CryoCord Malaysia I believe mothers who are interested to know more about banking stem cells can drop by our laboratory. Our team is always ever willing to share more about banking cord blood and CordMSCs\u00ae. Did you save your babies' cord blood and CordMSCs\u00ae? Vivian with her kids. Yes, I did store my babies' stem cells. I believe many parents are aware of stem cells and their usage, and as for myself, I would say it is one of my priorities. Why do you think it is important? I decided to store the stem cells as it is another form of insurance coverage for my child. Yes, there is word that it will likely go unused, but if you can afford it, I definitely recommend storing the cord blood. It is an opportunity that will never arise again if the need to use it arises in future. The cord blood stem cells are well known to treat blood diseases, such as leukaemia, metabolic disorder, and even immune deficiencies. With the advancements of technology, one will never know the potential these stored stem cells hold in the future. Some researchers are already turning them into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are used in disease modelling and drug development. They are also a potentially useful source for cell and gene therapies. Image from CryoCord Malaysia Now that we have got some insight from Vivian who works on the inside, you see they take saving lives through stem cell banking very, very seriously. Want to provide and protect your future children through biological insurance? Get in touch with CryoCord about banking your baby\u2019s umbilical cord stem cells today! Lastly, you can also check out CryoCord\u2019s plans and pricing on their website or chat with a CryoCord representative here.