Sandy update: Arizona company helps new parents despite storm

TUCSON, AZ - Superstorm Sandy caused a scare for some new parents wanting to save their newborns' umbilical cord blood in case their child ever gets sick.

"This is a once-in-a lifetime sample. If something happens to that sample we can't re-collect it. There's nothing else we can do, so that child and that family has lost that opportunity," said Jamie Alcaraz of Cord Blood Registry.

Alcaraz said CBR, in Tucson, is the largest family cord blood bank in the world.

Parents freeze and store their newborn's stem cells, which can then be used in the future to treat blood disorders and diseases if their child gets sick.

"Somehow those stem cells know where to go to help the damaged area of the body," said Alcaraz.

But Sandy threatened the hopes of dozens of families on the East Coast wanting to save their children's cord blood.

It's a time-sensitive procedure and cells die if too much time passes.

With the hurricane shutting down roads and airports, medical couriers had to get creative.

"Once they were able to get into the city or into those areas that were, that faced a lot of devastation, to find out do they need to drive those kits to other airports, do they need to charter a flight - what is it they needed to do to get those kits to us as quickly as possible," said Alcaraz.

The company said in the past few days they've collected nearly 50 samples from areas impacted by the hurricane.

Print this article Back to Top