Posted: Aug 25, 2011
A little more than three years ago, Chloe Levine received a reinfusion of her own cord blood stem cells as an experimental treatment for the paralysis on the right side of her body diagnosed as cerebral palsy. At the time of reinfusion, doctors couldn’t know how well the treatment would work or if 2-year-old Chloe would gain any movement in her right side. Three years later, doctors and family members are ecstatic to report that Chloe has made significant improvements, while admitting they will never know the exact reason for her progress. Today, she runs, jumps and plays like any normal 5 year old. This August she reached another milestone – starting kindergarten. We caught up with Chloe’s mom Jenny to get the latest on Chloe’s progress.
Q: Chloe is starting kindergarten this fall− congratulations! What is she looking forward to?
A: Taking a lunchbox to school! She’s thrilled to take her lunch, and not have her mom walk her into the classroom. She likes the new independence.
Q: Sending your child to kindergarten is a milestone for all moms. Why is this particularly special for you?
A: Just the fact that she’s like every other kid on the playground. When Chloe was diagnosed, we all questioned what her abilities would be. We’re reaching the point where those questions are being answered. There’s nothing that she can’t do.
Q: Did you notice changes in Chloe’s abilities right away after the treatment?
A: Four days after the reinfusion we were on our way home and Chloe said her nickname, “Coco,” out loud, which was something she’d been unable to do despite extensive work with her speech therapist. And immediately when we arrived home from the reinfusion, Chloe was able to ride her tractor and press on the pedal with her right foot – another thing that she hadn’t done before.
Q: Can you give us a recap of some other milestones that Chloe has reached recently?
A: Shortly after her reinfusion she began running, jumping, riding a bike, and riding a scooter. Now she’s playing soccer and has great control over the soccer ball. She’s in hippotherapy now, which uses horses as a treatment strategy for people with disabilities, and amazing things are happening. She has been using her right hand more willingly and with ease. She’s really progressed by leaps and bounds!
Q: Do you think you would have seen this progress with Chloe if she hadn’t received an infusion of her own cord blood?
A: No. I have a mother’s intuition that life would have been completely different.
Q: Where do you see Chloe in the future?
A: Living a completely normal life. She wants to be a baby doctor. I can see her doing that without any issue whatsoever.
Q: What initially convinced you to bank cord blood with CBR?
A: We didn’t do it with my first daughter, Shayla. We didn’t feel that we could afford it, but in reality we could have done it. So when Chloe came along, we decided that we needed to bank –and we knew there was a possibility to help both of the girls. We looked at it as a good insurance policy. We had no idea that Chloe would ever need it.
Q: What would you tell expecting parents who are considering banking cord blood?
A: You work so hard to bring this beautiful baby into the world, and you would do anything in the world to keep your baby safe and healthy. So why wouldn’t you do this? You can’t afford not to bank your baby’s cord blood, in my opinion.