Baby Matilda was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Manchester where her umbilical cord blood was donated to Anthony Nolan making her a “Born Lifesaver”.
When Catherine Martin and Paul Hickey were given the chance to donate their baby’s cord blood at birth they seized the opportunity. Matilda’s dad, Paul, is a nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary where he helps to care for patients with blood cancer. His job meant that the couple were aware of how important cord blood is.
“Donation was especially important to us because Paul is a Macmillan haematology clinical nurse specialist, so he understands the importance of the work Anthony Nolan does to improve the lives of people affected by blood cancers” said Matilda’s mum, Catherine. “The patients Paul looks after suffer from blood cancers including leukaemia and lymphoma.”
Donating Matilda’s cord blood became even more important when a close family member was diagnosed with lymphoma during Catherine’s pregnancy. It made the couple more aware of just how horrible cancer is.
Catherine and Paul are encouraging people to donate their baby’s cord blood. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Catherine said “Cord blood contains lots of stem cells which can be used in life saving transplants for people with blood cancers or disorders. Other parents should definitely consider doing this if they have the opportunity.”
Catherine also added “Donating didn’t interrupt our birth experience at all, and I’d recommend it to anyone giving birth at one of the collection centres. What better way to celebrate a new life than by giving the gift of life to someone else.”
Speaking about Matilda becoming a born lifesaver a representative for Anthony Nolan said “We’d like to say a massive thank you to Catherine and Paul for choosing to donate Matilda’s cord blood to Anthony Nolan. Umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells which can be used to save the lives of people with blood cancer. Donating cord blood is not invasive and doesn’t affect your birthing plan.”
Become a Born Lifesaver
Currently there are only 4 hospitals in the UK accepting umbilical cord blood donations for Anthony Nolan, however, there are a further 6 hospitals who collect cord blood for NHSBT. You can find a list of hospitals currently accepting cord blood donations for Anthony Nolan and NHSBT here. In addition to the 10 UK hospitals accepting cord blood donations, most UK hospitals allow cord blood collection for family storage.