Georgina Russell from Preston, near Manchester in the UK, was four months pregnant when she received the terrible news that her older brother, Ashley, had a rare, slow-growing form of the brain tumour, glioblastoma.
Determined to help her brother in any way possible, Georgina spent the days following his diagnosis researching his condition and emerging treatments. Then, late one night she made the discovery that could save Ashley’s life. “I knew that the placenta was nutritional and could help the recovery of the body,” says Georgina “and I thought, what a shame for that to go in the bin. Then my cousin sent me a link to a story about breast milk being healing and used to fight infection. This was interesting, but it wasn’t enough. I started typing things in and eventually came across a site that mentioned umbilical cord blood. I thought, oh my goodness! Doctors are using stem cells from the cord to treat different cancers!”
Georgina was shocked to learn that cord blood stem cells have been used in over 40,000 transplants to treat over 80 diseases of the blood and immune system, and yet no one she knew had heard of cord blood storage. “It should become a part of our education.” She says, “It’s so important. In schools and childbirth clinics people need to know that their child or a member of the family might need these cells. This is Ashley’s life. A life that’s ending far too early.”
Her daughter Charley was delivered safely and has had a powerful effect on Georgina who feels closer than ever to her family.With Charley’s cord blood and tissue safely stored away, Ashley’s family and friends have pulled out all the stops to organise fundraising events to pay for his treatment. “Ashely is overwhelmed by all of the support.” Georgina says, “He can’t believe that so many people care so much. But that’s human nature. If someone can help, they will”
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