Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts spoke yesterday at the launch of a pilot program for a public cord blood bank — the first public cord bank in all New England — which will support research on the benefits and potential therapies of stem cells from umbilical cord blood.
Practically speaking, no option had previously existed for preserving cord blood as private banking was unaffordable for many. Several women present agreed that they would have donated their child’s cord blood in a heartbeat had the option existed. If even a fraction of women having babies in Rhode Island donate cord blood, it has the potential to change the lives of many.
We heard one such story from a mother whose teenage son is now in remission following stem cell therapy for treatment of leukemia. Without stem cell therapy she doubted her son would be alive today.
This is the kind of profound difference we can make in individual lives, achievable when government partners with the private sector on major policy direction, and Lieutenant Governor Roberts promises to seek out these opportunities.