BENEFITING: CHILDRENS CORD BLOOD BANK & RESEARCH FOUNDATION
Cancer never stops hurting. 35 years ago when I was a young college student my father died of brain metastases from lung cancer a few years after my Nana had died of Leukemia. When I flew home from college he had been semiconscious for days without eating, but he woke up just once more when I walked into the room and said, "I knew you'd be home from school soon." Three days later he died at home as he had wished, with just my mom, me and little niece at home. That was one of the hardest things to see. When I was in college I never suspected I would outlive my father by so much, but as I get older I realize how young he really was that day. He died the day before his 60th Birthday. Surprisingly, that wasn't my first brush with cancer. When I was in 7th grade I tutored a third grader math in his home twice a week because he could not come to school. Soon I was told that my services were no longer needed. I assumed that he had returned to school, but sadly I learned that he had died of Leukemia. Ever since I have devoted my life to cancer research and treatments that make a difference, first as a cell therapy pioneer of sorts seeing too many young patients die too soon, and now as an educator and advocate for saving umbilical cord blood stem cells for FDA approved treatments. The public Children's Cord Blood Bank and Research Foundation (a 501c3 charity) is the result of these collective experiences. This is the reason for our fundraising campaign, to Raise Awareness and to make certain the doors of the laboratory are opened to save newborn umbilical cord blood from every parent that wants to DONATE their child's stem cells in NYC (and eventually elsewhere), without cost, not just at a few hospitals, but throughout New York City. This FDA approved adult stem cell source could be used throughout the USA to help children with genetic illnesses, blood and immune disorders and blood cancers, like Leukemia and Lymphoma. And as new treatments are developed in regenerative medicine we could all benefit from stem cell technology. I borrowed against my home and my retirement to build the laboratory and start the dream, but now the SBA is calling the loan and the monies that were promised from elected officials are full of fluff with no real substance. Every child deserves the chance for a healthy future. Every one of us is someone's child important to their family and community. But instead of saving the cord blood, over 90,000 newborn's umbilical cords are destroyed in NYC each year instead of donating them to a PUBLIC bank for the PUBLIC good and to children that are already sick. That is unacceptable when over 35,000 people a year are looking for and most will not receive a stem cell transplant in the USA.