Sunday, June 27, 2010

Three Weeks Post 58 Million Adult Stem Cells - Mailia Ascends Mt. Rainier with Friends!

Stu Saslow, Larry Richards, Mailia Goforth, Dave Koontz and Allen Minton

Well...sort of. You see...Mailia has always dreamed of someday, climbing some of the most majestic mountains on earth, in addition to all the other worldly and sporting activities she breathes life into on a daily basis. Having Eisenmenger's syndrome never dawned on her...that she could not do any of these things.

Three years ago, while at a seminar called Life Directions, Mailia was asked to draw a picture of her ideal life...a scenario where she could picture herself being the most happiest. She drew a picture of herself on top of a mountain in Tibet...holding an eagle stretched out on her arm...saying "I am a warrior of the Light...This is my destiny! And she told her story to 700 people that day and gave the gift of inspiration to so many there.

On the way home from Vancouver, B.C....she insisted she wanted to climb a mountain and that she was ready for it. To humor her so she would stop asking...and so I would rightiously appear apathetic with her, I asked Max to pull over on one of those "view" exits just past Ellensburg ascending Montash Ridge and I proceeded to tell Mailia...okay sweetie, before you are able to launch on one of the bigger mountains, lets start on these small ones first and see how you do.

I helped her out of the Excursion, with oxygen in tow...and told her we would try to climb to the top of this snow covered hill and she would lead the way, and I would carry her O2 from behind...wink...wink. My mom had a saying in Spanish...a dicho which went like this: Tanto quiere el diabol a su hijo que lo persina! That of course, came to my mind...translated it goes like this...The Devil loves his son so much that he will give him the sign of the benediction. Well...what can I say.

Needless to say...Mailia made it a mere 30 feet...and stopped dead in her tracks sobbing and said she could not do it. I felt horrible and grabbed a hold of her and hugged her hard and told her she was and always will be a very powerful being and to never give that power away, especially to a belief.

I encouraged her to keep believing she was capable of doing so many incredible feats, and her life thus far...has been miraculous!
So when my co-workers David Koontz, Larry Richards, Allen Minton and Stu Saslow told us that they were going to be climbing to the summit of Mt. Rainier I quickly asked...if they would PLEASE take Mailia with them! I told is not about the is the climb and for Mailia, going up with them in spirit held to her own vision and desires. What a gift they were able to give our precious Mailia. They took a full blown photo of her all the way up to the summit of that majestic mountain and told us that "she did just fine...and how it was a privilege to climb with her". We give our heartfelt thanks to these wonderful men and friends for giving Mailia such an incredible for personal growth and extreme happiness!
But there is another interesting facet to all this so please allow me to explain further. For Mailia's 15th birthday last year, it was her wish to meet her idol Michael Phelphs at a Power Within seminar up in Vancouver again. For some reason...that city has our number! Michael Phelps was nixed from the lineup at the last minute so she had to settle for meeting Dr. Mehmet Oz.

There was quite the line-up of motivational speakers...but one that mesmerized and clicked with Mailia was a wonderful man by the name of Jaime Clarke and his childhood dream was to be a mountain climber.
He spent most of his life either preparing for or climbing mountains. And he also had the great fortune to climb the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest.
Little did he know that his greatest reward would not be reaching the peak, but the lessons he learned on the way, because the mountain climber’s true measure of success is not about reaching the top, but the journey it took to get there.

So I wish to include an insert Jaime wrote from his web site Your Summit Awaits and Jaime Clarke
to add one final breath of inspiration to Mailia's Miracle...Thank you Jaime!
Your Summit Awaits...
The dream of the mountain climber is to stand on the summit. The successful climber will stand there for only five or ten minutes.

The preparation and the training to get there? Well that takes five or six years.

It’s very physical training obviously designed to build the body.

It is also designed to PREPARE THE MIND.

Your Summit Awaits Key Concepts
• Make Your Dreams Your Goal
• Care Enough To Confront

• Follow Your Passion Without Obsession

• Keep Your Promises Through Your Actions
• Face Your Fears, Focus on What’s Important

• Thank Those Who Help You to the Top
• Look to the Future, Your Summit Awaits

Key Concept 1 – Make Your Dreams Your Goal
• Don’t be afraid to hold really big dreams

• Make every step, even small one, move you toward your goal
“My Childhood dream was to be a mountain climber.

Key Concept 2 – Care Enough To Confront

• Find the courage to be sincerely honest
• Embrace conflict, ask questions, don’t take it personally

“Life demands that we care enough to confront.”

Key Concept 3 – Follow Your Passion Without Obsession

• Passion fills us with the joy to achieve

• Obsession blinds us from reaching our goals

“Passion will get you to the top, but obsession…obsession will get you killed. And we need to know the difference.”

Key Concept 4 – Keep Your Promise Through Your Actions

• Your beliefs are reflected in the promises you keep

• Make a commitment to keep your word

“In our lives, what matters is not the promises we make, but the promises we keep.”

Key Concept 5 – Face Your Fears, Focus on What’s Improtant

• Momentum is created with the first step you take

• Act boldly, live the life of your design

“Focus on what’s important: the relationships we build, the work we do, the people we care about, the skills we cultivate.”

Key Concept 6 – Thank Those Who Help You To The Top

• Affirm the very best in people

• Value the contributions of others

“It’s important, when we get to the top, to look back and appreciate all the others who made it possible o get there and give thanks.”

Key Concept 7 – Look To The Future, Your Summit Awaits

• Hold a positive image of your future

• Share your dreams

“Go forward in the work that you do and in the life that you live knowing that your summit, however distant, or veiled by clouds, is ready to welcome you”.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mailia Hits a Roadblock…We Detour to Memphis, Tn.

Upon our return to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, we were so very anxious to see how Mailia would fair the plane trip three days post stem cells. She seemed to do alright, despite desaturating some and being a little tired.

After checking Mailia upon arrival to our hotel in Miami…we spoke with Dr. Grekos and his team back in Bonita Springs and they told us if Mailia was doing okay…they would give us their blessings to go ahead and head home. We spent the morning on Sunday June 6th catching up on laundry and repacking the Excursion for our long adventure back home.

Mailia’s cath site around her right groin was still very sensitive and painful so she kept walking to a bare minimum and used her wheelchair extensively. As we headed north passing through Orlando, not even the signs of Disney World and Sea World peaked her interest…as she was still wrought with soreness from the procedure and just home sick and glad to be back and heading in a westerly direction.

Max and I too were so relieved that Mailia had come through the procedure in the Dominican Republic and weathered the trip there and back, for that part was not an easy feat for Mailia. One, being on oxygen and a high flow at that, required us to navigate the system to make sure that American Airlines, who flew us there and back…and I might add, did a superb job at handling Mailia’s needs for oxygen support and shuttling to and from the check-in points to the gates. We took her wheelchair with us to the D.R. and Regenocytes DR representative Yanely, saw to the supplemental oxygen she would need while there in the form of portable E-tanks and oxygen concentrator.

If we had it to do over, I strongly believe transporting by air ambulance is the way to go for anyone with high pulmonary pressures. It is sad our medical insurance would not cover this for Mailia and we did not have an extra 20k to fund this but believe now, she would have done so much better all around.

But as we headed north…our final destination being Pasco, Wa. we would get as far north as Valdosta, GA for the night. The next day we ventured through some beautiful country through Alabama working our way towards Tupelo MS for our second night stay. It was during this late afternoon that we noticed Mailia was just not herself…and her oxygen saturations seemed lower than norma.

The next morning she was very lethargic and not looking well at all…so I got in touch with Dr. Grekos office and told them my concerns. Mailia’s nurse Micheline asked what the closet city was to us…and I told her Memphis, TN. She contacted the ER doctor on site at the LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and told us to head straight there…and she would fax all of Mailia’s medical records to them and let them know her status so they could check her out.

We arrived at the hospital and the ER staff took charge of assessing Mailia. We met with a Dr. Ciega who took all of Mailia’s medical history and also with their staff cardiologist Dr. Rush Waller. While on the phone with Dr. Grekos back in Florida, I handed the phone over to Dr. Waller to converse with him relating to Mailia’s stem cell procedure. With Mailia’s saturation levels being so low and her hemocrat levels a little low also, Dr. Waller wanted to rule out any embolisms that might have occurred in her lungs or cath site. He ordered a Cat Scan, ultrasound and ECHO which all came up normal thank God!

Dr. Grekos had told us that it was his feeling that Mailia’s saturations were dropping due to the fact that he has seen several of his patients who underwent the stem cell procedure go through a period experiencing cold like symptoms with coughing and that the stem cells are making new vessels but are not connected yet. So he told us there was going to be some shunting of blood through her heart which would reduce oxygen.

Dr. Grekos was right on…but we had no way of knowing for sure and it was better to be safe than sorry. We are so very grateful to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and the staff there who cared for Mailia during her stay. It is a teaching hospital just down the road from St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital also…and we were very impressed with their old facility…soon to be replaced by their brand new Children’s Hospital which they will be moving into in September.

We are also so grateful to Dr. Grekos and his staff for their responsiveness and availiability 24/7 where it concerned Mailia's well being and making themselves available to help us navigate through this.

Mailia was discharged the next day in the early afternoon and we headed west…just a few short hours into Little Rock Arkansas for the night. Max and I had been craving some southern barbeque so we opted for that. Mailia had a chicken caesar salad and Max and I paid dearly the next 24 hours for our indulging in pork and beef barbeque at a local favorite. It did not agree with us at all and were glad that Mailia is not much of a meat eater…preferring salads. Smart girl!~

We left the following morning heading north through the beautiful Ozark country of northern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri to finally land in Springfield for Mailia has been dreaming of the day she could meet up with her brother Cory Riordan, since she reminds us constantly how it has been 3 years since she has seen him.

We spent a day in Springfield and got to see Cory pitch against the Springfield Cardinals at Hammon’s Field, a baseball minor league AA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Many of you know what a huge baseball fan Mailia is…and seeing her brother Cory meant the world to her and to us…for we knew this opportunity would be “big medicine” for her.

Cory is a wonderful pitcher for the Tulsa Drillers, affiliate to the Colorado Rockies and it is our hope and that of Mailia’s…that her brother will make it to pitch for the Rockies soon. Cory and Mailia spent some wonderful quality time together…catching up and bickering and teasing each other most of the time. Her laughter was/is healing and so contagious.

Thanks to Cory, we were graciously treated to a wonderful game and several stadium employees and local fans came around to meet Mailia and Steel Dust and showered her with attention and gifts that we are so very grateful for. After her release from the hospital, Mailia was so congested from allergies and with a sinus infection going, I called her pediatrician Dr. Nazar back in the Tri-Cities and he ordered her some antibiotics to help knock it out. I hit her with everything else I had in my eastern medical arsenal and she started to feel better…much to our relief.

After hitting a local Lincare for more oxygen and saying a tearful goodbye to Cory…we returned once again into the Mailia’s Miracle mobile and headed north to Sioux Falls, S.D. after deciding not to go directly west, for California and then north the same way we came. It was our intention to head back to San Francisco on the way home to see Mailia’s heart surgeon, Dr. Michael Black, but after conversing with him…he too thought it best that we head straight home with Mailia because he suspected there would be no significant positive changes in Mailia’s pressures for a few more weeks and that an ECHO in 3 months would be much more informative.

The Midwest was so green from rain…which we hit once we arrived in South Dakota and it followed us all throughout the state until we reached Deadwood, SD for the night. We stayed at a brand new non smoking hotel and set Mailia up with her wii and games after a nice dinner. The weather was cold and wet for June…in the low 50’s and quite a shock after coming from the hot temperatures in the south. Mailia had hoped to see Mt. Rushmore but no luck, the clouds were socked in so we continued our journey and long drive making it into Missoula, MT for the night. Along with the inclement weather came the disconcerting fact that we had no cellular service or data service between AT&T and Sprint for almost 4 days so we could not call or send updates midway and along our trip home.

The next day, Tuesday June 15th…an incredible 32 days after leaving Pasco for Florida and the Dominican Republic…we finally arrived home, safe and in tack thanks to God….and everyone and everything that helped afford our initial journey in making Mailia’s Miracle a reality.

We met so many wonderful people along the way, reconnected with family and friends and made new ones. Mailia I believe…left an impression with them all and in doing so, opened so many hearts including our own…to make a difference in the world, one day and one person at a time.

Traveling across country gave us the opportunity to see first hand, the status of our great nation and the people struggling to stay afloat and start anew. It gave us such a sense of appreciation and gratitude for not only what we have, but what we are a part of. Venturing beyond our U.S. borders, to the Dominican Republic and the beautiful people there also gave us so much to be thankful for. Everyone's Mailia's Miracle is HUGE...and will never be forgoten. This was truly humbling. We will forever carry gratitude in our hearts for everyones participation in returning the gift of life to our daughter Mailia.  Especially to you Dr. Zannos Grekos and your incredible team...thank you!

A Miracle For Mailia - Tri City Herald Article by Michelle Dupler June 7, 2010

Mailia Goforth, center, prepares to undergo an experimental stem cell procedure in the Dominican Republic. Doctors hope stem cells from her own blood will help heal high blood pressure in her lungs so she can have a life-saving heart surgery. Nurses Amie Ryan, left, and Emily Storrer, right, from RADY Children’s Hospital in San Diego, observed the procedure while volunteering in the area.
Pasco teen begins experimental stem cell treatment

By Michelle Dupler, Herald staff writer

PASCO — Once upon a time, Mailia Goforth was a young girl dreaming of a miracle that would break the curse cast over her as a child.

She waited 12 years for someone to fix her heart, which while full of love has a defect that makes her weak and steals the breath from her lungs.

Last year, a wizard entered the tale holding in his hands an almost magical treatment using her own blood, but it appeared it might take more time than Mailia had for her parents to find the money to pay.

Max and Andrea Goforth wished for a miracle for their daughter, but Mailia grew weaker and her parents grew more afraid, even though they never gave up hope.

But across the land, a fairy godmother heard of Mailia's curse and waved a wand to grant her dearest wish -- a chance at life free from the curse that has bound her.

Mailia Goforth on Wednesday became one of a handful of people in the U.S. to get an experimental stem cell treatment that could end up not only saving her life, but allow her to live the normal one she's never been able to experience.

Mailia, 16, has Eisenmenger syndrome, a condition that affects the blood flow to the heart that in her case is caused by a hole in her heart's wall.

She also suffers from secondary pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in her lungs. Her blood pressure is high because the hole in her heart allows too much blood to flow from her heart to her lungs, causing her blood vessels to constrict and stiffen and strain her heart. The pressure also stops surgeons from closing the hole.

That in turn means not enough blood flows into her lungs and she becomes fatigued and short of breath.

She can't walk more than a few steps without tiring, and for seven months of the year -- when temperatures are cool -- she can't venture outdoors because of the strain on her lungs and her susceptibility to viruses.

A double-lung and heart transplant -- the customary treatment for Mailia's condition -- is not an option, as doctors have told the family Mailia would not survive.

Andrea Goforth believed she found an answer to Mailia's problem when she learned about Dr. Zannos Grekos -- Mailia's wizard.

Grekos developed an experimental technique to repair pulmonary hypertension using adult stem cells. In fact, it's so experimental it can't legally be done in the United States because it isn't approved by the Food and Drug Administration, so Grekos flies with patients to the Dominican Republic to perform the procedure.

Because it is experimental, the $64,000 cost of treatment is not covered by the family's insurance.

Blood is drawn from the patient and flown to a lab in Israel where stem cells are extracted and activated with a protein known as a growth factor to cause them to multiply.

Growth factors are produced normally in every person's blood and tell other cells to become brain tissue, heart tissue or liver tissue, Grekos told the Herald in August.

"We use ones that are specific in this instance for blood vessels," he said.

Every person also has stem cells running around in their body like miniature repairmen, and when they can be extracted, multiplied and told what to do, they can repair damaged blood vessels and even make new ones.

The stem cells are flown from Israel to the Dominican Republic, where Mailia would be waiting to have them inserted into her lungs through a small tube. The stem cells would attach to her pulmonary blood vessels and help them regenerate.

For Mailia, that would reduce her blood pressure, making it easier for her to breathe and allow surgeons to give her a pulmonary artery band, which would reduce the blood flow through the hole in her heart.

Once Max and Andrea Goforth knew they wanted Grekos to treat Mailia, they started raising money as fast as they could. They figured they'd need the $64,000 for the stem cell treatment, plus $10,000 for travel and expenses.

They also expect to need the money for a second stem cell treatment in about a year. They hope the surgery to correct Mailia's heart defect will be covered by insurance.

By the end of April, the family had raised $47,000 -- significant progress, but not enough to start Mailia's journey to the Dominican Republic.

Andrea Goforth said she's stayed in constant contact with Dr. Grekos and e-mailed him an update after their last fundraiser in April to tell him how much they'd been able to raise.

In response, she got a surprise she's describing as Mailia's miracle come to life.

Dr. Grekos' staff at his company Regenocyte wrote back to tell Mailia's parents he was willing to take $42,000 of the money they'd raised to perform Mailia's stem cell procedure, and that a nonprofit called the Alliance for Adult Stem Cell Research and Therapy -- Mailia's fairy godmother -- was going to pay the rest.

After they got the news, Max and Andrea Goforth each scheduled a month off from their jobs, got the family's SUV in shape for the more than 4,000-mile, nine-day drive, and set off on a cross-country adventure.

They arrived in Florida about a week ago, where Mailia underwent preliminary tests and her blood was drawn and whisked away to Israel to make stem cells.

She flew to the Dominican Republic a week ago, and on Wednesday had nearly 58 million stem cells pumped into the arteries in her lungs through a catheter.

Within days, she'll be on her way back home.

"This is an adventure," Andrea Goforth said by telephone from Florida. "This is a first for us, as it is for many. I hope Mailia will be able to come back and tell a very positive story about her journey for others."

Grekos has said if the stem cell therapy is successful, Mailia's pulmonary hypertension could be reduced enough that she could have a relatively normal life without an oxygen tank and perhaps even be able to play sports.

Mailia has dreams both simple and lofty -- she'd like to go to the mall like other teenagers and be able to swim like her idol, Michael Phelps. She also envisions one day running her own animal sanctuary in Costa Rica where she'd preserve endangered species.

Right now, Andrea Goforth is focusing her prayers on a successful stem cell procedure that will allow Mailia's heart repair within a matter of months.

But she's also worried about how the family will pay for additional procedures with just $33 left in the Mailia's Miracle fundraising account after the costs of the procedure and trip.

The family plans additional fundraisers when they return home, and has set up a website called that tells Mailia's story and gives information on how people can donate.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

57,800,000 Adult STEM CELLS - for Mailia's Miracle

We are exhausted but exhilarated and relieved.  Our prayers, your prayers I believe have been answered!  We arrived in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic after leaving Bonita Springs Florida on my birthday, Sunday May 30th to stay in Miami in order to fly Mailia to the DR.
We were very nervous how she would do flying...but to our relief, 20 minutes after we pre boarded our flight, to our utter astonishment and amazement, we met both Dr. Zannos Grekos and Greg Finely from Regenocyte as they walked down the aisle to their seats.  Mailia... bounced up and down in her chair in total relief...knowing that Dr. Grekos was right with her!  The anxiety and extra stress she had about flying all but disappeared.  They said they wanted to surprise Mailia...and surprise her they did!

Our flight required Mailia to be on oxygen...a lot of oxygen and she went through two large tanks in the two hour flight.  We had expected our Regenocyte liaison, a beautiful woman by the name of Yanely Acosta to meet us at the gate with additional oxygen...but to our dismay, she was not allowed into the boarding area and it was too late to go back to the plane for the other full tank of oxygen.  Dr. Grekos grabbed Mailia's O2 tank as I wheeled her down the corridors through customs when we she said..."Mom, I am out of oxygen now".  Zannos and I took off like a shot to get her to where Yanely was waiting for us...totally in a panic that we rushed her through customs or I should say...the Department of Agriculture's officials who were demanding documentation on Mailia's little service dog "SteelDust".  I told them in my most eloquent Spanish that we could not stop for this, Mailia needed oxygen and I would pay the consequences later.

We got Mailia to the front of the Airport, got her hooked up to her oxygen and made sure she was okay and while she stayed with Dr. Grekos and Yanely, Max and Greg went to fetch our luggage and Olando (translator and porter) and I went to make amends and pay restitution to the animal federales.  The head of the department of Agriculture was a sweet woman named Margarita who not only was understanding with our plight but also instrumental for offering up some extra prayer support for Mailia's procedure.  I know...playing the Mailia card had it's merits.

We then loaded ourselves into Yanaly's SUV and she proceeded to take us to our hotel.  Thank goodness Max was riding up front with Mailia and I did not need to see the unbelievable way people drive and get around, here in the Dominican Republic.  We were amazed at how folks could drive as recklessly as they do and not wind up in a serious or even minor car accident.  Yanaly, was no exception.  She told us there are 6 different horn beeps that each have their own meaning.  She mostly used the toot toot...I am coming, or toot...thank you....or beeeeeeep, get out of the way!

Our journey to the hotel was nothing short of miraculous as well.  We were personally greeted by the hotel manager Mario Mendez and assistant manager Lenin Casanova and most of their staff, who had been expecting Mailia's arrival.  It is the off season now...and we were graciously received and accomodated into a nice room and upgraded for free to an executive suite facing the ocean.  Mailia, Max and I had a nice dinner at the hotel and a restful evening.

The next day Wednesday, was a day which brought a huge surprise as a friend of Mailia's came with her traveling companion all the way from Pennsylvania to be with her for her stem cell procedure.  Janette and Jaunita arrived at our hotel while Mailia and I were having breakfast and Max was taking Steel for his morning relief.  The potty reflief jaunt involved Max running, no sprinting across a four lane (very busy) street in front of our hotel to the beach area...without getting hit.  Pedestrian crosswalks...they crack me up here because they are never used...or can't be used safely.

Shortly thereafter, we met Yanely at our hotel and were so happy that she had picked up our dear friend Nahla Abbo, Cal's mom.

Nahla had flown in the night before and was staying at the same hotel as Janette and Jaunita at the Intercontinental.  We all piled into Yanely's vehicle...including Mailia's oxygen and wheelchair and we headed for a nice ride through the colonial part of town where we stopped to see the oldest Catholic church on this continent. 

We got Mailia into her wheel chair and proceeded to the church where a man by the name of "Angel" approached us and offered to give us the grand tour.  He was a nice man, very humble and humourous.  He spoke to Mailia and asked why she was sick.  We told him she had come for a very special procedure for stem cells for her lungs and heart.  He right away...told us that he had also experienced talking to and praying for a woman two years ago...who came to the Dominican Republic for stem cell therapy.  That...was Barbara McKean who he said could barely walk and was so sick with COPD and pulmonary hypertension.  He prayed for her...and now, he said...she writes to him from time to time to let him know how well she progressed after stem cell therapy.

Angel offered to pray for Mailia.  Max and I took Mailia into a small chapel within the church...and we prayed.  We see Mailia getting well, happier than ever...her miracle before her.  We all left there...pretty exhilarated and optimistic everything was in God's hands now.  No turning back.

That evening, we all got together for a special dinner to celebrate the eve of Mailia's stem cell procedure and to see her relinguish the anxiety and worry she has been carrying now for so long. Nahla brought a beautiful letter from Cal for Mailia, and also a beautiful pendant from her gorgeous and sweet daughter Justine.  Cal's letter helped Mailia and we want him to know it really made a difference for Mailia...knowing that Cal has helped her by pioneering the way for she and others.  Cal still has to climb that mountain to get to his final destination...and he will do so with great courage and love from an incredible support system.

The next morning, June 3rd will be a day that Max and I will never forget.  It was to become the clincher for Mailia's Miracle.  Mailia was not to have any food after 9:30 a.m. so we went up to the 20th floor of our hotel for a quick breakfast before being picked up by Yanely to take us to the hospital Centro Cardiovascular Dominicano.  When we got there...Mailia's service dog SteelDust became the target of animals, no matter the connection or service, they are not allowed on any premise in this country.  We spoke with the doctors and he was allowed minimal he was temporarily stripped of his duties and found loving and caring arms in those of Mailia's dear friend and animal vet tech, Janette and her friend Jaunita who stayed and took care of him while we admited Mailia for her procedure.

Mailia was taken to a room where she and another couple from Florida were waiting to go first, for their stem cells.  The reports came in...Zannos told the other patient that he had over 62 Million stem cells and that Mailia would get an astounding 57.8 Million!  As we got Mailia settled in and changed into a lovely gown, an x-ray technician came in to get a chest x-ray for the doctors. by one...the cardiologists started to arrive and come in.

We met with Regenocyte's Dr. Lionel Fco. Liriano or (Chiqui) as he is fondly called, the one who would orchestrate all the work in the control room.  Then Dr. Roberto Fernandez de Castro and lead Dr. Hector Rosario Figueroa came in to meet us and Mailia.  They had just drove in from another main city from the north, Santiago and were going to get ready to study their patients records and consult with Dr. Zannos Grekos.

Mailia was also visited by two traveling pediatric nurses from San Diego, Ca. Amy and Emily who were on R&R in Santo Domingo after having traveled from Haiti for a 2 week relief effort.  They had met Dr. Grekos and Greg at the hotel and were given the opportunity to come bear witness to his procedure he has spent years developing and perfecting and asked if we were okay if they could observe.  We were very happy to have I quickly put them to work helping me get Mailia prepped and hooked up to all their monitors.

Then Max and I quickly went into change into our scrubs for Max was allowed to be in the control room with Dr. Chiqui, Amy, Emily and Greg Finley as well, who was video taping and documenting Mailia's procedure and Max, too...taking pictures that you are now previewing.

I was afforded the best seat in the house.  At my babies head...right at her side to hold her hand and relax her to the point where she did not require any anesthesia.  Dr. Grekos felt it was better to forgo the anesthesia for he feared it would raise her heart rate and cause her more left to right shunting thereby increasing the pressures in her lungs.  No, only a local anesthetic was to be used where they would be inserting the cath into her groin and femoral artery.

Mailia was explained the procedure by Zannos and Vicente...her anesthesiologist whoes cell phone drove me nuts at times.  The pictures shown here are of Dr. Fernandez and Dr. Rosario who were the ones running the whole show with Grekos all around the lab making sure everything was coreaographed perfectly despite the pandemonium going on.

Mailia's blood draw produced over 57.8 million adult stem cells which had arrived only hours before.  Paperwork was verified, control and batch numbers matched to her wrist band...all in order. I watched Mailia's heart vitals constantly...while stroking her forehead, wanding and calming her, putting her into a total state of relaxation.  There were three separate times where she went into a deep meditative state that made me nervous and later relieved to see this was her way, of allowing the invasiveness not to overpower her.  She remained connected and strong...amazingly strong!

The procedure took a cool two hours and they managed to get all the stem cells, which were in 3 separate syringes into all 6 of her main lung artery branches in both lungs, and before removing the cath Dr. Grekos had Dr. Rosario place the last cc of stem cells in her pulmonary artery...just for good measure.  We were so impressed with this teams profesionalism, their internal Q.A. and expertese while working to help our Mailia.

She was done!

After a restful night recouperating in the hospital and being monitored, we were escorted back to our hotel this morning by Yanely.  The staff at the hospital was courteous, helpful and very gracious to us and we thank them and everyone here in Santo Domingo for their hospitality and willingness to help and care for Mailia.

It has been a truly humbling experience for all of it should be.