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Stem Cells Give Rebirth to Little Shanaya

Červen 2020
LifeCell International, India


Shanaya Agarwal familyWe have read that stem cells have the potential to treat many medical conditions and that they have been in use for decades. But here is a rare story where the father’s stem cells were a perfect match to his daughter and saved the child from a potentially life threatening disorder. Although the treatment did not use cord blood, the decision of the parents to enroll in a Community cord blood stem cell bank covered all the stem cell transplant related costs of their child’s medical care. 

It was just another day for Mr. Hitesh Agarwal from Surat, a city in India, when he was playing with his 3 months old daughter Shanaya and had an appointment for her regular check-up with the doctor. But little did he realise that this day was going to be different. It became traumatic and nightmarish when the doctor confirmed to him that his daughter had been diagnosed with Thalassemia Major, a critical blood disorder. Both mother and father were found to be carriers of this disease, a fact that was hitherto unknown to them. The best possible treatment for little Shanaya to survive, for her parents to see their dreams for their daughter stay alive, was a stem cell transplant.

It was a decision they took at Shanaya’s birth that stood by them during this hour of crisis. "We were on cloud nine when she was born in 2018. Like most new-age parents, we too had planned for her healthy future well in advance by signing up for LifeCell's Community Stem Cell Banking to bank our baby's cord blood. But little did we know the impact this decision would have on our lives," reminisces Mr. Hitesh Agarwal.

As the parents came to grips with the situation at hand, Hitesh quickly went into action to explore options in stem cell treatment. He was advised by the doctor to check his blood to see if his stem cells could be a match for his child. As luck would have it, Hitesh and Shanaya were a full match on all the genetics required for a stem cell transplant - a medical miracle of sorts, since it is very rare for a parent and child to be a full match. The hospital swiftly planned the stem cell transplant to give the father’s cells to Shanaya, and the procedure was successfully done. The power of stem cells worked. Now Shanaya is treated and is reborn, giving new life to her parents dreams for their daughter.

"As we stood there wondering how to make arrangements for the humongous bill, LifeCell came to our rescue. We were, of course, aware of their medical assistance program at the time of signup, where a customer is guaranteed monetary assistance of INR 20 lakhs to offset the transplant related expenses. However, we weren't sure it worked," pointed out Mr. Hitesh.

How did LifeCell make a difference? LifeCell’s Community Stem Cell Banking Program covers all approved sources of hematopoietic stem cells: this includes bone marrow, peripheral blood, and of course the umbilical cord blood. Most other bank's medical assistance plans only cover costs for stem cells sourced from the umbilical cord blood. It is this fact that worked in favor for Shanaya’s parents. In no time, LifeCell had processed their claim of total INR 17,54,664 (about USD 23,100) as per the Indian IRDA regulations through their current third-party insurer under a unique Group Mediclaim Coverage policy. Needless to say, Hitesh is a relieved and happy man!

“This is a satisfying moment for LifeCell, since we have been able to make a difference in someone’s family and bring a child back to life. LifeCell has already been championing its cause for more than a decade now, and has disbursed more than INR 1 Crore to several customers, with Mr. Hitesh becoming the latest beneficiary. This further validates LifeCell’s mantra of untiring commitment toward customer satisfaction” said Mr. Ishaan Khanna, CEO, LifeCell International Pvt. Ltd.

Today, Shanaya gives an innocent smile of gratitude to her father. Hitesh responds emotionally with tears flowing out of his eyes, truly with satisfaction of fulfilling his responsibility of fatherhood. Now Hitesh can proudly say “I have given my blood to save you” to his daughter when she grows up.

LifeCell, established in 2004, is India's leading provider of healthcare services for new parents. LifeCell presents a complete spectrum of services and products pertaining to mother & baby associated from pregnancy to childbirth. Through these services, LifeCell aims to provide complete health & wellness for the mother & baby & family. With advanced infrastructure and facilities at Chennai and Gurugram, the company has footprints in over 200 cities in India and abroad, with network presence in over 6000 healthcare institutions. LifeCell's umbilical cord blood stem cell banking, a community-based approach towards stem cell access, is an innovative banking model that aims to provide families in India better access to donor stem cells than is currently possible elsewhere in the world, even in countries that lead in healthcare innovation.