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Moms' other gift of life

| Sunday, May 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Moms' other gift of life

As Mother's Day approaches, consider this: A mom's gift of life can take on new meaning for thousands of patients fighting life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Choosing to donate her child's umbilical cord blood could provide a cure for patients whose only hope is a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.

There is no cost to donate to a public cord blood bank and it is completely safe for both mother and baby. Cord blood is collected immediately after a baby is born and does not interfere with labor or delivery in any way. Donated cord blood units that meet criteria are listed on the Be The Match Registry, so they are available to any patient in need of a cord blood transplant.

I encourage everyone, especially those from diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds, to reflect on the gift of life this Mother's Day and consider public cord blood donation. This simple act gives immense hope to patients around the world and potentially offers someone a second chance at life. For more information, contact Mary Wiegel, program manager and educator for The Institute for Transfusion Medicine Cord Blood Services, at 412-209-7479 or mwiegel@itxm.org, or visit BeTheMatch.org/cord.

Linda Hahn

The writer is vice president, clinical services, at The Institute for Transfusion Medicine (itxm.org) in Green Tree.

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