Tot with cerebral palsy may walk thanks to stem cells from baby brother’s umbilical cord

the siblings

Isla Duffy and brother Leo (Picture: SWNS)

Little Isla Duffy was left unable to verbally communicate and with extremely limited mobility after being deprived of oxygen at birth.

The two-year-old suffered a seizure shortly after she was born in January 2021 and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

While there’s no cure, thanks to blood from her six-month-old baby brother Leo’s umbilical cord, Isla could be about to take her first steps.

The tot will travel to Duke University Hospital, North Carolina, US, in August to undergo treatment using blood from the cord, which is rich with stem cells.

These cells are basically the body’s building blocks, and can be used to treat certain cancers, immune deficiencies and genetic disorders.

It’s hoped this treatment could help Isla too, with pioneering research in America having found some promising results.

Now, Isla’s parents, both 32, are hoping to raise £25,000 for the treatment and the physiotherapy that must come after.

Isla’s mum and dad, Emily, a project manager for a law firm, and Sim, a finance broker, were thrilled to learn that their daughter qualified for the treatment.

Isla Duffy, her mum Emily and dad Sim, along with her 6-month-old brother Leo (SWNS)

Emily, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, said: ‘It was a massive relief finding out that Isla qualified. You need at least 50% genetic compatibility – and we were lucky to be told Leo was a good enough match.

‘When you have a child that has cerebral palsy you’re told there’s no treatment or cure – so I guess I have high aspirations about the treatment now that there is finally something we can do.

‘A successful treatment could allow her to develop exponentially quickly. She might never have been able to talk, but if the treatment goes well there’s a chance she could.

‘She also might be able to learn to walk much faster. Currently, Isla can’t sit independently, crawl or walk.

‘Cerebral palsy limits her a lot. She is also nonverbal and has suspected autism, which makes communication with a very frustrated little girl extremely hard.

‘She loves books, especially sensory books, and loves to play outside. She really loves stroking animals like dogs and playing in the water too. She just wants to be able to do what other two-year-olds can do.

‘Hopefully, the treatment will give her a fresh lease of life, even just little things like being able to play with other kids and Leo.

‘At first she was not that interested in Leo, but as he’s got older the two of them have started playing with the same toys and flipping pages of books they are reading together.

‘It’s been lovely seeing them grow closer, and hopefully, the treatment will help with that too.’

The siblings (Picture: Emily Duffy / SWNS)

Sim and Emily are hoping to make the trip in two months’ time, so their daughter can have the $15,000 (£12,013) self-funded treatment.

‘At the moment there is no cure for cerebral palsy at all,’ said Sim. …read more

Source:: Metro


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