Mother: Blood from umbilical cord saved toddler's life

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by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on March 16, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Updated Saturday, Mar 17 at 10:09 AM

(KMOV) -- A Missouri mom says blood from her daughter's umbilical cord saved her toddler's life.

Sparrow, now 5, was just a year and a half old when she fell into a pool.  Doctors told her family she wouldn't survive, but Sparrow made major milestones after doctors at Duke University infused the little girl with her own stem cells, taken from the cord blood her family had stored.

"We knew the research was new and we didn't know exactly where the science was going to take it, but it could be beneficial for Alzheimer’s, cancers and certain things like that, so we saw the value in it and banked her cord blood," Tonya Morris, Sparrow's mom, said.

Cord blood costs about $3,000 up front to bank, then about $150 a year to store it.  The Morris family looks at it like an insurance policy.

"We knew that if there was some significant research done, and we had this for our children, who would highly likely -- it was like 75 to 80 percent chance of matching her cord blood, a sibling's cord blood -- and we had that for them and they faced something in life, it would be there," Morris said.

Morris says the stem cells found in the cord blood were used to help heal her daughter's brain injury.  She says Sparrow literally made astonishing improvements just one day after the infusion.

"We saw this difference in her," Morris said.  "She was very energetic, very excited, and it was the first day that she had initiated conversation with us."

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