When Laura Brinkley gave birth to a baby girl last August at Mercy Medical Center, she donated the blood from the umbilical cord in the hope that the stem cells it carried could treat someone with a debilitating disease such as leukemia or sickle-cell anemia.
Deciding to donate was easy for Brinkley, who happens to be a nurse. She especially wanted to help fellow African-Americans, who have a harder time than other racial groups finding a stem cell match.
“Once the doctor explained it to me I was on board,” she said. “I wanted to be able to help.”
Similarly to bone marrow, stem cells extracted from the blood of an umbilical cord can be used to treat and cure more than 80...