Not so very long ago, two families welcomed babies into the world at Tucson Medical Center – and made an important decision. They chose to make a public donation of umbilical cord blood to give the gift of life and provide hope for others in need.

The donations of cord blood, which are rich in stem cells and used to rebuild immune systems, were matches for a child in Australia who was struggling with acute myelogenous leukemia – a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The most recent match helped a child being treated at the University of Minnesota facing acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer.

Tucson Medical Center wants to thank everyone who makes the choice to provide life-saving cells so that others may have treatment options. The matches are made possible because of the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program, which TMC joined in October 2014. Those who do not intend to privately bank their baby’s umbilical cord blood have the opportunity to donate it to others. Donated cord blood is listed on the Be The Match national registry.

Since the program’s inception in 2011, 43 life-saving matches have been made including these donations– the second and third match for TMC.

“As we celebrate the ways we can make a difference in the world, we want to thank everyone whose generosity allows other children the opportunity to grow and thrive,” said Kristen Wilt, TMC cord blood coordinator. “That includes the families who provide the cord blood, as well as the providers whose expertise and commitment has such a tremendous impact on patients and families they will never meet.”

The procedure is painless, the program is free for patients, and everything is kept confidential.

The latest match was collected from baby born at TMC in May, 2016 by Dr. Jennifer Reinhart and Annie Reiners, RN.

For more information on cord blood donation, please visit the Tucson Medical Center website and these blog posts.

Arizona Public Cord Blood Program