Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood, January 2023
This is the story of a little boy with a long name: Kamsiyochukwu Bryan Peter Ezenwa. “Kam-si-yọ-chukwu” is a traditional Igbo name, which translates to “exactly as I asked God”. The Igbo are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.
Kamsiyochukwu and his family are from Nigeria, but they were living in India when he was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anaemia at the age of two years old in 2013. Sickle Cell is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells. The red blood cells become sickle shaped, instead of round, and this prevents them from carrying oxygen properly. The sickle-shaped cells also tend to stick to each other, causing blockages in small blood vessels. Sickle cell patients are chronically fatigued from lack of adequate oxygen, and they have crises of pain and swelling from blocked blood vessels. Patients find themselves on a life-long regimen of blood transfusions, drugs to alter the shape of blood cells, and pain killers. Over the years, organ damage accumulates, so life expectancy is shortened.
Kamsiyochukwu’s mother, Blessing Ezenwa, learned from her son’s doctors that a stem cell transplant from a sibling could stop his pain crises and cure his Sickle Cell. She gave birth to a second son in 2018 and stored his cord blood with Cordlife Sciences India, a cord blood bank that is part of the Cordlife Group and located near Kolkata. Then in January of 2020, Kamsiyochukwu underwent chemotherapy at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi and next received a transplant of his baby brother’s cord blood stem cells. His mother says, “Since then till now, there is no crisis, no pain, no nothing, he is okay. We are back home in Nigeria.”
Blessing Ezenwa is grateful to Cordlife for their help with her son’s treatment. “They delivered it on time, there was no delay. On the day they said they would deliver it – everything went on well.” In addition, as part of the cord blood banking contract with Cordlife, the family participated in an insurance plan that provided a payment towards the cost of a stem cell transplant. “I also want to say a big thank you to Cordlife for their financial support. We have received it. They helped out financially through the help of insurance. The package that comes along with the saving of the cord blood. Thank you so much. God bless your company. God bless all their workers. And God also bless the insurance company.”
Source: Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood