A 62-year-old grandpa receives injections as a child after a stem cell transplant to cure a blood disease
A 62-year-old grandfather is vaccinated as a child after his immune system was rebooted with stem cells from the baby’s umbilical cord.
Colin Baker’s sons name him Benjamin Button after a transplant to treat a blood disorder.
The father of three suffered from myeloid dysplasia, which causes severe bruising and bleeding, and tests showed he was at high risk of developing blood cancer.
After his immune system was virtually destroyed by chemotherapy and radiation, he received stem cells to start it up again.
Colin said, “There is a woman there, and I have the cells of her child in me. I think about it every day.
“I will finish my childhood vaccinations in two years. This is weird.
“Now I have grandchildren and I like to say that I am only a little older than them!”
Colin’s one-year-old grandson Arlo and granddaughter Beatrix, who was born in January, also receive injections.
The blood in the umbilical cord and placenta is rich in stem cells, which can turn into different types of blood cells – red, white and platelets.
During transplantation, the patient’s damaged cells are replaced with healthy cells from a donor.
Since 2007, Anthony Nolan’s Cord Blood charity program has been collecting cord blood, which is usually discarded.
Colin from Wakefield shares his story to raise awareness about cord blood donation during British Science Week, March 10-19.
He recently visited the charity’s laboratory in Nottingham and found the transplant science “totally stunning”.
He said: “The beauty of stem cells from a baby’s umbilical cord is that they have nothing else to fight.
“You get a better match and better outcomes with cord donation than with an adult donor.”
The first transplant using umbilical cord blood stem cells was performed in 2012, and since then about 300 patients have benefited.
Last year, the program surpassed 67,000 donations.
Colin encouraged moms who are invited to donate to do so. He said, “If an option is available to you, please do so.”
You can learn more about the Anthony Nolan Cord Blood Program here.
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