LPGA Golfer Diana D’Alessio Teams Up with the Cord for Life Foundation to Raise Awareness of Potential Lifesaving Benefits of Umbilical Cord Blood
D’Alessio to Return to LPGA Tour in March after Major Hip Labrum Surgery
Altamonte Springs, FL (January 13, 2012) – The Cord for Life Foundation (www.Cordforlife.com) announced today that it is partnering with LPGA golfer Diana D’Alessio to raise awareness of the potential lifesaving benefits of umbilical cord blood. D’Alessio will help kick off 2012 with educational efforts and special events designed to inform women about the importance of donating or storing their newborn’s umbilical cord blood. 2012 will be a busy year for D’Alessio, as she is targeting a March return to professional golf at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix after recuperating from surgery for a torn labrum and impingement.
Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia and other disorders that can be treated with the stem cells extracted from the blood in the umbilical cord of newborns. As with bone marrow transplants, doctors can match cord blood to a patient and then transplant it to potentially save a life. If not suitable for patient use, donated cord blood may be used for medical research.
Expectant mothers also have the option to privately store their newborn’s cord blood, which should be a consideration for families with a history of hereditary diseases or if a child is a non-Caucasian or of mixed race. With private storage, the cord cells are collected, processed, cryopreserved and stored for use by the child or a designated recipient. Because these units are not for public use, fees do apply.
Sadly, the umbilical cord is often discarded unless expectant mothers choose to donate the cord blood to a public cord blood bank or store the units with a private bank.
“I’ve gotten involved with the Cord for Life Foundation to help get information to families so they can make an informed decision,” said D’Alessio. “Friends of mine who I met through the LPGA tour lost a child to a rare blood disorder and today I wonder if they had known about cord blood banking and had stored their son’s cord blood, maybe this could have helped save his life.”
D’Alessio will be speaking with the media throughout the year about the importance of donating or storing cord blood stem cells. Also, she will attend special events to help raise awareness of this issue and fundraise for the Cord for Life Foundation.
D’Alessio started playing golf at age 13 in her home state of New Jersey. In 1994, she was the New Jersey State Amateur champion and Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association Stroke Play champion, a title she captured again from 1995-1996. D’Alessio qualified for the LPGA tour on her second attempt and has experienced many career highlights, including a career-best finish at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2006, where she finished second.
In August 2011, D’Alessio underwent hip labrum and impingement surgery followed by extensive physical therapy. Marc J. Philippon, MD, at The Steadman Clinic and Philippon Research Institute in Colorado performed the surgery. D’Alessio is feeling strong and is looking forward to returning to professional golf.
“The surgery went very well and I expect Diana to make a full recovery. She was very disciplined in her rehabilitation and it showed in her excellent recovery,” said Dr. Philippon.