Success Stories: Heidi Tweten

After suffering through many unsuccessful treatments and years of blood transfusions, Heidi Tweten was able to undergo a stem cell transplant with cord blood. She was later pronounced cured.

Heidi was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan <a href=”/cord-blood/treatments/anemia/”>Anemia</a> when she was only ten months old. As the disease caused Heidi’s body to stop producing red blood cells, a <a href=”/stem-cells/transplants/”>stem cell transplant</a> was her best treatment option. However, a bone marrow transplant was risky, since a close match is needed for a successful operation. If the donor is not a match, the transplanted cells may¬†attack the patient’s body (called graft-versus-host disease), which can be deadly.

Heidi received blood transfusions until she was 20 years old. At this time, her body developed a resistance to the donated blood, and she was constantly exhausted. Because of her condition, Heidi was forced to drop out of college. When her mom heard about <a href=”/cord-blood/”>cord blood transplants</a>, and the lower chances of graft-versus-host disease, they decided to participate in a transplant. Cord blood also doesn’t require an <a href=”/stem-cells/hla-matching/”>exact match</a>, so Heidi’s doctors had a larger pool of stem cells to use.

Years after her successful transplant, Heidi now lives a normal life, and hasn’t taken anti-rejection medications or received a blood transfusion since her cord blood treatment.

Stem cells from cord blood treat over 80 diseases. Read more about <a href=”/cord-blood/benefits/”>cord blood therapy here</a>.

<span style=”font-size: 8pt;”><strong>Sources:</strong>
<a href=”http://www.nationalcordbloodprogram.org/patients/patient_heidi.html” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>National Cord Blood Program</a>
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