TMC collects 1,000th unit of publicly donated umbilical cord blood

AZPCBP_2ccTucson Medical Center and the Save the Cord Foundation are proud to announce that TMC has collected the 1,000th unit of umbilical cord blood as part of the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program. TMC is one of four hospitals in Arizona, and the only hospital in Southern Arizona, to give expectant parents the option to donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood as part of this program.

Since the program’s inception, 28 cord blood units have been selected for patients in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant.

Donated cord blood that meets a certain set of criteria will be included on the Be The Match national registry where it could save the life of someone with a life-threatening disease who needs a stem cell transplant.

Noncontroversial umbilical cord blood is a precious resource to a patient in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant. This blood is rich in stem cells, which can renew themselves and grow into mature blood cells. It’s been proven to cure and treat as many as 80 diseases, and can be used for transplantation for adult and pediatric patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening blood diseases. More than 22,000 patients around the world have received transplants from donations to public cord blood banks.

Donating cord blood does not hurt the mother or the baby. It does not change a woman’s labor or delivery, and donation to a public bank is free. TMC started offering this program Oct. 1, 2014.

Amy Vasquez and Chris Colbert with baby Hailey

Amy Vasquez and Chris Colbert with baby Hailey

The 1,000th unit of cord blood was collected from Hailey Vasquez who was born at TMC on Nov. 5 to parents Amy Vasquez and Chris Colbert. They said when they were approached by one of TMC’s cord blood consenters, their decision to participate in the program was easy. “I’m amazed that something that is so quick, easy and safe to collect may be so beneficial to somebody else,” said Colbert. “I’m in awe that my beautiful, healthy daughter who just came into the world may save someone’s life someday, just by being born.”

“We are thrilled at the success of our program in its first year,” said Kristen Wilt, TMC cord blood coordinator. “We feel so fortunate to have the support of Tucson’s nonprofit community hospital, two dedicated consenters who are on the front line of this program, and wonderful physicians who champion this effort. They take the time to collect this blood because they believe in our mission and know it’s better than having it discarded as medical waste.”

The Save the Cord Foundation, a Tucson-based nonprofit, is proud to partner with the program and be the voice for unbiased cord blood education and awareness.

“Establishing this program at TMC is a dream come true,” said Charis Ober, founder of the Save the Cord Foundation. “On the Be The Match registry, there is a significant shortage of blood from Hispanic, black, mixed ethnicity and Native Americans. The demographic TMC serves, and the number of babies delivered there – more than 5,500 in 2014 – has the potential to make a significant positive impact on the national registry, essentially giving more people a better chance at finding a match. This program is our passion, and we couldn’t ask for a better hospital partner.”

TMC is one of four Arizona hospitals supported by the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program.

More information about the program can be found at http://www.tmcaz.com/cord-blood-donation-program.

19 lives saved, and counting: Cord Blood Awareness Month draws attention to benefits of Arizona Public Cord Blood Program

Proclamation_CordBloodAwarenessMonth_July2015[1]Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has signed a proclamation making the month of July Cord Blood Awareness Month. The proclamation generates attention about stem-cell-rich umbilical cord blood and how the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program, which TMC is a part of, is saving lives.

Each year, thousands of patients in the United States are diagnosed with a blood cancer or other life-threatening disease. Umbilical cord blood is a prime source of blood stem cells and can be a precious resource to a patient in need of a stem-cell transplant, since the cells can renew themselves and grow into mature blood cells. The advancement has proven to cure and treat as many as 80 diseases. The blood can be collected, stored and made available for transplant to children and adults with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma.

TMC is one of four hospitals in the state, and the only hospital in Southern Arizona, to offer this option to expectant parents as part of this program. The program also partners with the Tucson-based, nonprofit Save the Cord Foundation, which provides education. The Arizona Public Cord Blood Program is funded by the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission. There is no cost to families who choose to publicly donate their baby’s cord blood through this program.

“This proclamation highlights a special program that provides a lifeline to patients in need,” the governor said. “The generous gift of cord blood increases the odds of survival for cancer patients and gives researchers a chance to find a cure for genetic disease.”

Collecting the blood does not hurt the mother or the baby or change a woman’s labor or delivery. “This is a way for parents to give the gift of health to others in need,” said TMC Cord Blood Coordinator Kristen Wilt. “It’s one of the easiest ways to make a positive impact on the lives of others.”

One Arizona mom calls the decision to publicly donate a baby’s cord blood, “The best gift a mother can give another mother.”

Since the program’s inception in 2011, 19 cords have been selected for transplant in Arizona, meaning 19 lives have been saved. Since TMC signed on to the program in October 2014, roughly 600 units of cord blood have been collected.

For more information about how to donate your newborn’s cord blood at TMC, please click here.


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461