As parents of a child whose only option of survival was a stem cell transplant, we wanted to do something that would allow our family a way to share our positive outcome. The primary purpose of the Mason Shaffer Foundation is to take Mason’s success story and pay it forward. It sounds very cliché, but what else can you do when a potentially tragic life event affects your family’s life. We knew very early in Mason’s journey that we were going to take our experiences and make a difference in other people’s lives.
There are many differing statistics on the likelihood that you will utilize your own child’s cord. It is everyone’s own personal and private decision to decide what they will do with their child’s cord blood. The Mason Shaffer Foundation advocates donating your cord blood.
Our Foundation will work collaboratively with established cord blood programs to expand the network of qualified hospitals in the greater Philadelphia area. We will work with hospitals to manage the costs of donating umbilical cords to public blood banks for the purpose of transplant and research. The Foundation will also provide educational materials to the obstetrics departments and maternity patients in the greater Philadelphia area. Because we believe more diseases and disorders can and will be treated with umbilical stem cells, The Foundation will also fund continued cord stem cell research programs.
When Mason was diagnosed with MIOP, we found it very difficult to find current, accurate, and reliable information about his extremely rare disease. With an estimated 1 in 250,000 live birth frequency, it was difficult for our family to find other families who were affected by the diseased. After diagnosis, we were left with little outside resources beyond those at A.I. duPont. Therefore, the Mason Shaffer Foundation will also provide an information and support network for families affected by Osteopetrosis and Stem Cell transplant.
Mason’s treatment took place at the A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. The length of an in-patient hospital stay for a stem cell transplant can be difficult on a family. We experienced ups and downs but have identified several key aspects that helped our family make it through Mason’s hospital stay. We plan on providing the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit with supportive services to families. Items like family care packages, computers, and other identified needs of the unit.