In November 2012, Emily Velez went into labor with her first child at Piedmont Hospital Atlanta. She and her husband, James, were the first to donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood in Piedmont Hospital’s public cord blood banking program in partnership with the Cleveland Cord Blood Center.

Recently, Emily and James welcomed their fourth child, continuing the tradition of donating cord blood when each of their children were born. “We chose a public cord blood bank over private banking. We may never need it, but there may be a person’s life we can impact,” said Velez.

Velez’s father has lymphoma and her grandmother passed away from lymphoma. Her stepsister survived childhood leukemia. “We’re no strangers to the impact of these diseases. It made the decision to donate our babies’ cord blood an easy one.”

Velez describes the cord blood donation process as simple, fast and convenient. “The staff at Piedmont Hospital loves that we were the first family to donate to the Cleveland Cord Blood Center, the hospital’s public cord blood bank partner. Every birth is a joyful event. It makes it that much more so when the staff is grateful you are giving this gift.”

Back in 2012, the birth of the family’s first son publicized umbilical cord blood donation through local media reports on the event. Their son continues to spread the word. “When we meet new people, he says, ‘Hey mom, tell them I was in the news the day I was born.’”