A Sussex firm is helping to support a little boy who is to undergo pioneering treatment which could change his life.
Five-year-old Jay Shetty has cerebral palsy and has been severely disabled since he was born. He has never been able to walk, talk or play with his one-year-old brother Kairav.
But now Jay is to receive special stem cell treatment in America which could completely reverse his condition.
His parents Raj and Shilpa stored the umbilical cord blood of Jay’s brother Kairav with the Burgess Hill firm Cells4Life when Kairav was born.
And now the firm - the UK’s largest stem cell banking and processing company - is helping the Shetty family to raise more than £100,000 so that Jay can undergo ground-breaking treatment in the US which will aim to reverse his symptoms of cerebral palsy.
It would mean that five-year old Jay may be able to hug his parents and play with his brother for the very first time.
Cells4Life is supporting the family to boost online donations with dedicated social media profiles for ‘Jay’s Journey’ to Duke University in North Carolina. So far almost £5,000 has been raised.
Mum Shilpa said: “Like any mother, I will do everything possible to make life better for my son.
“I am determined to find the money to pay for the cost of these therapies. How can I not when it potentially means a better life for him?
“The support from Cells4Life has been overwhelming; we are eternally grateful to them not only for the professional support they have provided in storing Kairav’s cord blood but also going out of their way to help promote our fundraising efforts.”
Cells4Life chairman Wayne Channon said: “Jay’s story is so touching and serves to highlight how valuable sibling cord blood could be in offering the first therapy that targets not just the symptoms of cerebral palsy, but the damage itself.
“This is why we are committed not only to help fundraise for the Shetty family, but also to raise awareness of the importance of cord blood stem cells in general, so that more families will have the same opportunity for life changing treatment as they do.”
The first ever cord blood transplant took place 28-years ago in 1988. Since then the popularity of such treatments has grown, with over 35,000 cord blood transplants having occurred worldwide.