My Sister's Cord Blood Saved My Life
Playtime is fun time for many kids. The joy of running around in the open field, playing “catch me if you can” is what every child looks forward when it comes to playtime except little Nur Dalila Wafa Bt Mohd Fakhrorazi. For a blood disorder patient like Nur Dalila who tires easily, she had to be house bound to get as much rest as she could.
Nur Dalila suffered from Beta Thalassaemia Major which is an inherited blood disorder since she was eight months old. Every month, she will routinely get blood transfusion as part of the treatment process.
According to her mother, Yati Bt Hatea, she discovered that Nur Dalila, her eldest child, had Thalassaemia Major when she fell very sick one day with high fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. When the doctor ran a blood test on Nur Dalila, it was found that she had very low levels of haemoglobin and her red blood cell counts were as low as 4g/dl! From then on for the next few years, Nur Dalila was in and out of hospital for blood transfusion so that her red blood cells counts stayed at a normal level.
Stem Cell Transplant Saved Nur Dalila
According to Yati, she was strongly advised by her obs-gynae to do cord blood banking as a means to treat her child’s condition. Yati did as advised and stored the cord blood of her second daughter, Nur Dafina, with CryoCord through the CryoCord Community Transplant Program (CCTP). CCTP is a community programme in which CryoCord covers the cost of cord blood banking for the less fortunate should their closest family member needed stem cell urgently.
When Yati was pregnant with her second child, she was given a cord blood collection kit that contained a cord blood collection bag. Yati would have to bring this kit to the hospital upon giving birth to her baby. This is so that when the doctor clamps and cut the umbilical cord, separate the baby, and the blood will be extracted immediately from the umbilical cord. The blood sample will then be transported to the blood bank for processing and storage.
After finding out that Nur Dafina’s blood matched the genetic criteria of her sister’s, Nur Dalila underwent a stem cell transplant surgery at University Malaya Medical Centre that cost RM60,000. After undergoing the procedure and chemotherapy in September 2010, early blood assessments showed that Nur Dalila was able to successfully produce her own red blood cells for the first time.
Today, Nur Dalila, a bright and bubbly eight-year-old, actively runs around and plays catch with her peers without feeling exhausted like she used to. Although the outcome of the surgery is yet to confirm that Nur Dalila is entirely free from Thalassaemia, the prognosis is promising, and her parents were blessed to find such tremendous improvement in the life of their oldest daughter.
Teresa Chin, My Sister's Cord Blood Saved My Life, Parenthood, Special Report, July 2011.