Patricia Durante was 26 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with leukemia. “It was the worst day of my life,” Patricia says. “We were planning a family and beginning our lives together and it just felt like the end was near.”
At 31 weeks of pregnancy, Patricia delivered her daughter, whom she named Victoria Angel. “If it wasn’t for her, I never would have known I had leukemia,” she says.
Patricia was prepared to do whatever it took to fight the disease and be a mother to her newborn daughter. After being infused with Victoria’s cord blood, the family waited every day for Patricia’s bone marrow to rebuild.
“I was to give life to my baby but she gave life to me.” – Patricia Durante
“The transplant was a cure,” she says. “I’m not in remission because my bone marrow was replaced with my daughter’s stem cells. She saved my life.”
Cells for Life Medical Need Program
It’s stories like Patricia’s that inspired the Cells for Life Medical Need Program, which was established in 2002. Cells for Life became the first cord blood bank in Canada to provide funding to expectant parents with a family member who is suffering from a disease that can be treated with cord blood stem cells in the near future.