In 2001 I had my first baby, and although it was a happy time for us, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss because one of the most important people in my life wasn’t there to share it with me.
My cousin was 14 when she died in a car crash, and at the time I was just 17. Because I was in the crash with her, I had to experience at a very young age how life can change in a split second.
Those hours right after the crash changed my life forever. We waited helplessly as the minutes ticked by, praying she’d make it, until one nurse came over and asked if we’d all consider donating blood. I remember how I felt in that moment quite clearly, despite how long ago it was, because knowing I could donate gave me a sense of peace. In the middle of a tragedy, I felt like I could help out in some way. The impact of that has never left me.
Because I my blood type is O Negative, I’ve been asked to donate blood many times since that day. With that blood type, I can be a universal donor for people in need, and that’s a good feeling.
Many donations and many years later, I became pregnant with my first baby, and one of the things I put on my list to explore was the possibility of banking my baby’s cord blood. Cord blood is blood from the umbilical cord and placenta, and it’s collected right after you deliver your baby You can now donate your baby’s cord blood, and Canadian Blood Services will place it in the National Public Cord Blood Bank so anyone in need can access it.
Why would you donate cord blood? The stem cells in cord blood can be used to treat more than 80 diseases and disorders. Maybe you know someone who has a child with leukemia, an immune system disorder, or sickle cell disease – cord blood can be used to treat these diseases or for research to improved treatment plans. Even if you don’t know anyone who would benefit from cord blood, you can still donate to the National Public Cord Blood Bank and know you may be helping someone’s child beat a life threatening disease.
Donating cord blood is simple – just download the Cord Blood Donation Kit for your area. Cord blood donation is available in Ottawa, Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver at 5 hospitals in those cities, here is a list.
Once you’ve informed your doctor and handed your consent form, your cord blood will be collected on delivery day.
Donating blood and knowing you can help save someone after a crash or surgery is an amazing feeling, and although we couldn’t save my cousin, I’ve never regretted donating blood that night or since then. Donating cord blood also has the potential to make a huge impact on someone’s life, and it’s a worthwhile option any mom-to-be may want to explore.
Take a look at Canada Blood Services website for more information on how to donate cord blood and you can also go and blood an appointment to donate blood anytime.
This post has been sponsored by Canadian Blood Services, but the images and opinions are my own. For more information, please visit https://blood.ca .