Patricia Durante was dying. She had a rare form of leukemia, and doctors said her chance of survival was just 15 percent.
Complicating things was the fact that Durante was pregnant. In fact, it was during a routine blood draw that she received the diagnosis.
“It was so bittersweet,” she said in video below.
Doctors wanted Durante to terminate her pregnancy, so that she could begin chemotherapy. Durante protested. She wanted to bring her daughter to term.
While she was reading a book on motherhood, “Pregnancy to Parenthood,” she learned about cord blood banking. According to the National Cancer Institute, cord blood is rich in stem cells. It can be obtained from a baby’s umbilical cord immediately after birth. Durante learned that cord blood could be used to treat a host of illnesses including leukemia.
“She’s gonna save my life,” Durante said of the revelation. “I was convinced.”
Durante took her findings to her doctors, but they still weren’t convinced. Durante was fading fast, so doctors induced her at 31 weeks. She gave birth to her daughter Victoria Angel on Sept. 2, 2001.
“It was a difficult moment. I felt guilty that my child was being born premature,” she said.
After Victoria Angel was born, doctors immediately began administering chemotherapy to Durante.
Doctors wanted to destroy her bone marrow to kill the leukemia, but that left her at risk for infection. It was at that time that doctors used Victoria Angel’s cord blood to create new bone marrow for Durante.
She stayed in the hospital for 60 days. Fast forward seven years: Durante remains cancer-free, according to the video makers, and she owes it to her daughter.