The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


May 19, 2006

Happy birth day!

Yesterday was the happy birth day of my first grandbabe, a boy born to my first-born son and his wife. I was there to hold him, to be just astonished by him, when he wasn’t yet half an hour old. This child is a gift of God—and we are grateful and glad.

And as with every good gift from God, it is to shared. Because his parents signed up to donate the umbilical-cord blood, the sharing may well already have begun. This blood may help save the lives of people with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases, as well as help treat children with inherited diseases, according to the Institute for Transfusion Medicine Clinical Services. This bank serves the Chicago area, but it’s affiliated with a network of banks within the Center for Cord Blood at the National Marrow Donor Program.

It’s safe to donate cord blood, which is collected after the birth. It’s free, as the blood bank covers the cost of collecting and storing the blood. And all information about the baby and parents is kept completely confidential.

And it’s easy—if parents plan ahead with their physician, who will help determine eligibility based on medical history, and if they request a collection kit at least one month before the baby’s due date.

This baby arrived more than two weeks early. His parents weren’t quite ready: The nursery still needs to be painted. The shower-gift outfits need to be washed in Dreft, to make them safe for the tender new skin.  And the parents-to-be arrived at the hospital without a camera.

But they remembered the cord-collection kit.

In our joy today, it’s wonderful to think that another family also may be filled with new hope. Thanks be to God!

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Embracing diversity