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Pregnant mom hopes to use umbilical cord to help paralyzed son

Kinith Massey
GoFundMe
Kinith Massey
SOURCE: GoFundMe
Pregnant mom hopes to use umbilical cord to help paralyzed son

A pregnant mom in Arizona is hopeful that a procedure involving her baby's umbilical cord will help her 6-year-old son walk again.

"Anything that could make the possibility of him walking is well worth the chance," Vanessa Bell said in a Skype interview.

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Bell and her son, Kinith Massey, were in a car crash three years ago, when a drunk driver swerved into oncoming traffic and hit their car head-on. They were both rushed to different hospitals with serious injuries. The crash paralyzed Kinith from the waist down.

"It took two years for the swelling on his spine to go down before they were able to realize there was a tear the size of a No. 2 pencil lead in his spinal cord," Bell explained.

Kinith's spirit hasn't changed, however. He's still a rambunctious 6-year-old who likes toys and superheroes, and he's a proud member of the Cub Scouts. However, his mom says he does get frustrated from time to time.

"There's been numerous times where he's like, 'Mom, your legs were broken, why can you still walk and I can't?'" Bell said through tears. "And it's hard to explain to him."

Bell is now just a few weeks away from giving birth to another little boy. She received a kit in the mail to bring with her to the hospital the day she goes into the labor. The kit will collect the cord blood and cord tissue from the umbilical cord, which will be used to help repair Kinith's spinal cord.

"The purpose of her using those is the fact that they're super potent and they're a very strong genetic match to the baby's sibling, the son," said Ayanna Bryan, a stem cell specialist with Americord.

Americord collects, processes and stores stem cells from umbilical cords for future medical or therapeutic use by family members who save them.

Bryan says that the stem cells will be injected into the damaged area of Kinith's spinal cord in hopes that they attack the areas of inflammation.

"They can turn into broken cells that need to be replaced, they can release growth factors and healing factors to help the surrounding cells repair the damage," Bryan said.

However, it's not that simple of a fix.

"It's not like you inject it and all of a sudden you're off and running. You have to go through a fair amount of training and exercise and rounds of treatment for these therapies to work," Bryan said.

Bell is hoping this gives Kinith a shot at running around with all of his friends.

"I just think that it would be amazing to be able to give him the ability to walk, the chance to be able to walk again and experience the things that he hasn't," Bell said.

There is a GoFundMe page for anyone who would like to donate to the procedure.

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