Healthcare workers from Methodist Hospital and GenCure’s Cord Blood Center wiped tears from their eyes as 16-year-old Jathan Rivas shared how a cord blood transplant saved his life. Jathan was diagnosed with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia in 2014, a quick-spreading blood cancer that was not responding to chemotherapy. The teenager received a cord blood transplant in August 2014. Without it, the disease would have been fatal. Cord blood is found in the placenta after a baby is born and is a rich source of stem cells that can be used to treat life-threatening diseases. Jathan’s shared his story at an event marking the 10-year anniversary of Methodist Hospital and Methodist Children’s Hospital, a campus of Methodist Hospital, participating in cord blood donation through GenCure’s Cord Blood Center, and July is National Cord Blood Awareness Month.
“Ten years ago, cord blood was a life-saving treatment for a handful of diseases,” said Troy Quigg, D.O., pediatric hematologist-oncologist at the Children’s Cancer and Blood Center, a department of Methodist Hospital, and Jathan’s doctor. “Today it is used to treat leukemia, blood disorders, deficiencies of the immune system, cancers, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and neurological conditions, such as stroke.”