A diagnosis of blood cancer affects the whole family. At CellPlan we provide a unique protection plan that unlocks world-leading stem cell transplantation and covers the travel and accommodation expenses of the patient and a family member. For Gill Sepe, a grandmother from Surrey in the UK, CellPlan offers peace-of-mind: if one of her family falls ill, they will receive the best possible care.
Stem Cell Treatments
Gill had been aware of stem cell treatments for some time when her first grandchild Frankie, now 5 years old, was born. Like many of us, Gill had seen medical documentaries and success stories featured in the news but had thought that such therapies may be financially inaccessible to her own family: “I had no real idea of the costs involved, other than that they were massive.”
Although there is no history of blood cancer in the Sepe family, there have been other cancers, such as lung cancer, and Gill herself suffers from an autoimmune disease that, she says: “thankfully, doesn’t give me any problems now but perhaps in the future it might deteriorate.”
Cord Blood Banking
A short time ago, Gill happened to see a presentation by João Andrade, CellPlan’s CEO at a business meeting. “He was so passionate about the massive potential of stem cell treatments,” she says “and how CellPlan insurance cover would revolutionise the way in which the average person could access treatments across the world for a fraction of the cost of paying privately.”
Umbilical cord blood contains haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs): an established treatment for leukaemias, lymphomas, multiple sclerosis, metabolic diseases and numerous disorders of blood cell proliferation, including sickle cell disease and Fanconi’s anaemia. Since the first transplant of umbilical cord blood HSCs in 1988, it is estimated that over 35,000 umbilical cord blood transplants have been performed worldwide. (Cell & Gene Therapy Insights, 3/8/17)
Stored umbilical cord blood offers an alternative source of HSCs that has advantages over both peripheral blood and bone marrow. The collection of cord blood is quick, non-invasive and painless, and the HSCs are generally healthier and in higher numbers than those sourced from older donors.
“By the time I heard João speak for a second time some months later, my daughter was pregnant,” Gill says, “so it really was a no-brainer to get on board.”
For Gill, the most important feature of cord blood banking is that it gives her family access to life-saving stem cells should they ever need them; access, moreover to cells that belong to her own granddaughter, 4 month old Daisy. This means that the HSCs are a perfect match for Daisy and are highly likely to be accepted by Frankie and other family members. “When my daughter realised that the stem cells could also be used to help her son and two step-children” Gill says, “she thought it was a fantastic idea.”
My main reason for offering to bank my granddaughter’s cord blood and tissue was that, as a grandparent, I could feel I had played a useful role in her and her family’s future health.
The CellPlan Difference
When Gill researched private stem cell transplantation she realised that the cost could be prohibitive, with many treatments costing hundreds of thousands of pounds. “I found another company on the internet offering stem cell insurance,” Gill says, “but the limit of their cover is just £250,000, which would not cover all available treatments!”
CellPlan covers not just medical expenses up to £1,000,000 but also travel and accommodation expenses for the patient and a family member.
“If you are in a position where a loved one is needing expert care,” Gill says, “it is good to know that everything is taken care of.”
“When I read on the CellPlan website that I would have access to the world’s leading clinical stem cell transplant experts and that they have specialist doctors available on every continent I felt that, should anything happen, my grandchildren would be in the very best hands.”
And what about the cost? “My daughter and I feel relaxed about the future in the knowledge that the children have the best chance of recovery in any condition they may develop. The cost of CellPlan is a fraction of the cost of insuring my car so, in my mind, it is a bargain!!”
Gill’s daughter has just celebrated her 30th birthday and is engaged. “I don’t think there will be any more babies just yet…” Gill adds, “…but you never know!”
How to store your baby’s umbilical cord blood and tissue
Daisy’s umbilical cord blood and tissue was stored with Biovault Family. You can find out more about their services and experience on their website, here.
How to access CellPlan protection
Applying for CellPlan insurance is easy. You can request a quote, brochure, or call back here.