Without Charlie, none of this would be happening. His life inspired his family, and others, to push on with this cause and fight for change. This will be Charlie's Legacy. If you would like to know more about Cords4Life (UK), Charlie, his life and get regular updates please get in touch by visiting the contact section.

What We Do

The charity was registered in March 2013, a month after Charlie’s passing.

Our mission is to raise vital awareness of the importance of umbilical cord donations and increase the amount of public cord donation centres available within hospitals across the UK.

We want to be able to fund more midwives with the necessary training needed in extracting the blood from the cord. We want to be able to provide hospitals with the necessary equipment for storing the cord and we want to help save and change people’s lives, who are suffering with life-threatening, and degenerative diseases.

We believe that every parent-to-be should be informed of the benefits of cord blood and given the choice to donate their baby’s cord. It is a simple, risk-free procedure that poses no harm to the mother or baby. Once the cord is clamped and cut the blood is simply extracted and stored, where it could eventually be used to save a life, change life or given for invaluable research instead of being thrown in the bin.

This will be Charlie’s Legacy.

We are currently working towards fulfilling our long-term goals. In the short to medium term we are:

Providing information about organisations that have cord blood bank programmes / banks.
Providing support for cord blood / stem cell research and treatment so long as the useful results are disseminated for public benefit.
Raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of the cancers that affect our children.
Supporting families that are affected by cancer and sharing real life stories about children who have been affected by cancer as part of this.
Working with registered charities where appropriate to help progress initiatives.

*info from Anthony Nolan

Cord Blood

Cord blood has a high concentration of stem cells, which can be used to help treat more than 70 illnesses, ranging from Type 1 Diabetes to Leukemia and Lymphoma. These stem cells can be stored (or “Banked”) until they are required, with no apparent expiration date on their effectiveness. In fact, stem cell samples taken more than 20 years ago still appear to be identical to samples that are months, weeks or even days old when stored correctly.

The Procedure

The procedure for extracting cord blood is a simple and non-intrusive one which has absolutely no impact on the birth at all. The extraction itself will often take place in an entirely separate room, so the parents and the hospital staff can give their undivided attention to the new born. While each hospital will handle the finer details differently, the general course of action is as follows:

1. The baby is born with the umbilical cord attached to the placenta. This is then cut (by the father, should he wish) and then “clamped”. The baby is then usually wiped down and goes through a quick series of checks to ensure it is healthy.

2. While the child is being cared for the cord has now been moved out the way, usually into another room. The blood, containing the stem cells, is then extracted with a syringe and placed in a bag which looks similar to the ones used on an intravenous drip.

3. The bag is then taken to the storage facility, which may be within the hospital or at another site entirely. Once it arrives it will be examined and have all red blood cells removed.

4. The cord blood stem cells will then me stored in a tank with liquid nitrogen, which keeps the the cells at a constant temperature of -196 degrees Celsius where it will remain until needed.

Stem Cell Uses

Stem cells are used to treat a wide variety of illnesses, some types of which we have listed below. It should be noted that this list is far from comprehensive and new research is constantly underway which opens up more uses all the time.

Malignancies – a cancer of the blood, e.g. Leukaemia, lymphoma
Bone marrow failure – when bone marrow doesn’t produce the cells it should.
Haemoglobinopathies – a blood disorder e.g. Sickle cell anemia, thalassaemia.
Immunodeficiencies – when the immune system doesn’t work properly.
Metabolic disorders – which affect the breakdown of waste products in the body.

Despite it’s obvious medical benefits, cord blood is still being thrown away on a daily basis because parents aren’t made aware that they can donate or the hospital simply doesn’t have the facilities to carry out the procedure.