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Real Story: How a Couple Persevered To Help Their Child with Cerebral Palsy

This is a real story from Indonesia.

“We refused to give up,” said Mr. Hasan and Mrs. Dwi Aprilia as they recalled the time when they found out that their daughter Harumi has cerebral palsy. This proclamation was the source of strength that kept this couple fighting on to nurse their baby back to health.

Nothing unusual happened during Harumi’s birth. Everything seemed fine. Yet, at only a few days old, the little baby experienced her first seizure. The first month of Harumi’s life was the hardest because her parents could not figure out what was happening to their daughter. She was only finally diagnosed with cerebral palsy after the family consulted several doctors. Harumi’s parents had few options then. Someone told them to accept the reality but they insisted on not giving up and continued to tirelessly search for possible solutions to help their daughter.

When Harumi was born, her parents donated her umbilical cord to a laboratory owned by a friend. Under the advice of this friend, Harumi underwent her first stem cell therapy with stem cells obtained from her own umbilical cord. She was almost three months old at the time. After the therapy, Harumi’s condition improved and she had lesser seizure episodes, which stopped eventually.

As Harumi’s umbilical cord was not stored under optimal conditions, she only had enough stem cells for one infusion. While Mr. Hasan and Mrs. Dwi continued to search for other viable options, they put Harumi on regular physiotherapy to help develop her sensory and motor functions.

Five months later, a blessing came knocking on the family’s door when Mrs. Dwi became pregnant with their second child. Encouraged by the positive result from using Harumi’s umbilical cord stem cells, the couple decided to store their second child’s umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord lining as well. This time around, they selected a more well-established stem cell bank, Cordlife, to safeguard their baby son’s precious biological resources.

A few months after Harumi turned two, she went through another stem cell therapy using her baby brother’s umbilical cord stem cells, collected and cryopreserved by Cordlife. This time, her parents noticed that Harumi’s eyes can properly align with each other and she can visually follow light movements with ease.

The couple’s undying perseverance in seeking help for their beloved daughter proved to be fruitful. Although Harumi still requires more interventions, the progress in her health and development gave hope to her parents.

For Mr. Hasan and Mrs. Dwi, Harumi’s unexpected predicament is a constant reminder not take things for granted and to do whatever they can within their means to safeguard their children’s health. They also encourage parents of children with cerebral palsy not to give up. “No matter how big or small the chance is, every effort has its own fruit. And maybe, among the efforts, a miracle is waiting to be found,” said the couple.

Umbilical cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that have been used in the treatment of 80+ disorders including some cancers, blood disorders and developmental disorders. Umbilical cord lining contains two other cell lines; mesenchymal stem cells and epithelial cells, which have the potential to support treatment for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, severe burn wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, eye conditions, etc. In this modern era, cord blood and cord lining banking have become an integral part of childbirth and health protection.

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