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Basketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Irving, a passionate supporter of cord blood donation, spoke before Congress in 2005 to urge support of legislation funding cord blood stem cell research.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Public and family cord blood banking is now available at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center, which is planning a free community presentation Jan. 29 at 9 a.m. featuring Matthew Farrow, recipient of the world's first successful umbilical cord blood transplant, Dr. Hal Broxmeyer, a pioneer in the cord blood banking and transplant field, and NBA basketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving, an ardent supporter of cord blood transplant science.

The free event is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center, 9003 E. Shea Blvd., in Scottsdale.

Expectant couples delivering babies at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center now have the option to donate their baby's umbilical cord blood to a public cord blood bank. Cord blood can be used for life-saving stem cell transplants to treat more than 70 diseases including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia.

Speakers at the cord blood banking community event include:

Dr. Hal Broxmeyer, recognized as a founder of the field of cord blood stem cell banking and transplantation.
Matthew Farrow, recipient of the world's first successful umbilical cord blood transplant in 1988.
Stephen Sprague, one of the world's first adult patients to benefit from a cord blood transplant.
Julius "Dr. J." Erving, NBA legend and passionate cord blood spokesperson.
Dr. Edward S. Guindi, obstetrician, president of CORD:USE and member of the National Marrow Donor Program Cord Blood Advisory Group.

Cord blood is the few ounces of blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta, traditionally discarded following the birth of a baby. Scientists discovered that cord blood contains stem cells and progenitor cells (similar to those in bone marrow) that have the ability to replicate or develop into additional cells that can be used to treat life-threatening diseases.

Scottsdale obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Gina Dado is a national umbilical cord stem cell educator for CORD:USE, which is partnering with Scottsdale Healthcare.

"Cord blood can be a life-saving option for many children and adults and many more lives would be saved if all families either stored or donated their babies' cord blood," said Dado.

Cord blood can be donated to a public bank without any cost, making it widely available for potential use or banked for a family's own use in a private umbilical cord blood bank for a fee. Both options are available through CORD:USE and now available at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center.

Congress passed the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act in 2005, and more than 30,000 cord blood transplants have been performed worldwide since the first successful transplant was performed in 1988.

RSVP for the cord blood banking event by calling (480) 882-4636 or visit shc.org. Seating is limited and a continental breakfast will be served.

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