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Cord Blood Therapy Helped a Child in Singapore to Cope with Cerebral Palsy

July 2020
Desmond Tan


In a 2017 interview, Desmond Tan described the improvements he has seen in his son, Ee Han, aged 7 years at the time, following cord blood therapy for cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy story of Ee Han, cord blood stored with Cordlife Singapore

When Ee Han was 3 months old, his parents noticed that he could not hold his head up on his own. They visited his pediatrician and were sent for additional tests at a specialty hospital. “It was confirmed that he has Global Developmental Delay and Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. An ENT doctor confirmed that he also has severe hearing loss in both his ears.”

“My wife and I were devastated.”

As he got older, Ee Han began going for multiple therapies, including occupational, audio-verbal, and feeding training.  He used equipment like walkers and activity chairs to help him improve his day-to-day quality of life, but such aids are usually expensive.

Ee Han did not speak because of hearing loss. As a toddler, he started making more sounds only after wearing hearing aids. Mobility wise, he only managed to sit up on his own when he was around two years old, and he started to crawl using just his arms around the same time. Ee Han learned to stand with support, but his parents needed to install grab bars in their bathroom.

“My wife, Siew Yit, is his full-time caregiver ― one of the biggest challenges we face is caregiver fatigue. As he gets older, it is becoming physically and mentally more challenging to handle him. We’ve learnt to be more patient as every aspect of Ee Han’s life moves at a slower pace. We still have to take care of him like he’s a baby, as he is still fully dependent on us for daily activities such as washing up, changing his clothes, getting around and feeding. We plan our schedules with allowance for unexpected delays.”

In 2014, Ee Han’s parents met a family in one of their therapy groups, that had tried a cord blood infusion and felt it had improved their child’s mobility and sleep habits. Only then did Desmond Tan and Siew Yit remember that they had stored Ee Han’s cord blood at birth with Cordlife Singapore. They applied to the Ministry of Health for approval to give Ee Han therapy for his cerebral palsy in Singapore, utilizing his own cord blood.

“Ee Han went through two rounds of cord blood infusion. We noticed several changes in him within weeks ― the most memorable was seeing him have fun ‘fighting’ with his niece. We had never seen him interact with another child before.”

“After the second round of infusion, we noticed within days that he could get up from a lying down to a sitting position much faster than before, and he started to have fun repeating this sitting up movement. We also noticed that he had better control of his emotions. He used to swing from laughter to cries and back in seconds, but he seldom does that now. Even more amazing is that he has started to ‘doggie crawl’ over the past year, and has been more proactive in reaching out for the things that he wants.”

“Our current priority is to help him continue improving on his mobility issues. Once he is able to stand and walk on his own, it will be a huge achievement for him and a huge relief for us.”