A day of overwhelming joy turned quickly into a day that became every parents’ nightmare. Rebecca and Bob Coates gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Bailey, on October 20,2012.
Bob is active military and the birth was a cause for great joy. But within 24 hours of birth, Bailey had her first seizure. She continued to have them in the days ahead. The diagnosis was Perinatal Stroke, a rare condition that affects abut 1 in every 4000 births. The stroke had damaged her brain. Her brain was so deprived of blood and oxygen her parents were not sure she would ever recover or even survive.
Doctors told Rebecca and Bob that Bailey could permanently be disabled and may never walk without a handicap. THe future of her menatal and devopmental function was also uncertain. Of children surviving stroke, 50-80 percent will have permanent neurological deficits, most commonly cerebral palsy (according to the American Stroke Association).
Hope from Banked Cord Blood
When Bailey was born, her parents decided to privately bank her cord blood with StemCyte, one of the most accredited private cord blood banks in the U.S. Bailey’s Mom heard of a trial happening at Duke University – it was a trial for children that suffer from brain injuries using stem cell therapy. Rebecca contacted them to have Bailey participate. Although there was not an actual opening for Bailey, the lead physician behind the trial allowed Bailey in out of compassion. Her cord blood stem cells were shipped from California to North Carolina to be used in the treatment.
Soon, Bailey was infused with her own cord blood stem cells intravenously in a minimally-invasive procedure. The hope was that these stem cells (known as the body’s “master cells”) would migrate to Bailey’s brain and repair some of the damage done. With this therapy still in trial, there was no telling what the outcome would be.
Today Bailey is walking like any normal, healthy 18 month old. She is a delight to see. She took her first steps last fall. Bailey’s parents often wonder where Bailey would be today without the umbilical cord blood stem cell transfusion.