* Stem Cells for Stella! *

Paj Hli "Stella" Xiong is our sixth baby.  In Hmong, "paj" means flower, and "hli" means moon.  She is our flower, our moon, and our little star. A good friend of mine said, "Her name is perfect because she will be the center of your universe," and she has been...   

Our sweet Stella was born on March 13, 2018. During the second ultrasound, we learned that she was a breech baby and prepared for it.  We had a scheduled inversion attempt, but unfortunately that failed and we had to have an emergency C-section.  When Stella was delivered, she did not cry at all because she wasn't moving nor breathing.  The doctors and team in the operating room quickly responded and took the necessary steps to help bring her back to life.  I couldn't do anything except lay there helplessly as they continued to operate on me.  Tears rolled down my eyes to my ears. My body dead-weight.  My heart sank.  A doctor finally let me take a glimpse of my beautiful, stagnant baby, and then told my husband, ZooTshaj (Dave) to go with them to the NICU. Little did we know that she would be in there for the first 67 days of her life.  

Our world was turned upside-down.  Dreams turned into nightmares.  Life at home was a mess, with five other young kids confused and still needing their parents. The NICU life was so hard.  It was filled with uncertainties, pain, beeping sounds of machines, nurses rushing to help Stella breathe and stabilize. She underwent "active cooling" and "rewarming," and had two operations done before getting discharged.  What's the underlying illness?  Stella was nicknamed a "Neuro Baby" in the NICU.  She was diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), which meant that she didn't have oxygen to her brain for a period of time.  Also, she had sustained a brain hemorrhage to the left side of her brain.  Many of her development has been undeclared because almost everything is "neurologically related."  Luckily, at the time of delivery, her cord blood was collected, and we banked it for future use...and it has been one of the greatest decisions we've ever made. 

The doctors explained that Stella's cord blood could be used to help her brain recover!  The recommended treatment after Stella was discharged is a Stem Cell Transfusion.  This will take place at Duke University Hospital, located in North Carolina.  At Duke Hospital, the doctors will be able to use the stem cells from Stella's cord blood to transfuse into her bloodstream.  Stem cells have been proven to work so well that they will migrate to the damaged areas of the brain and help HEAL it.  To what extent of recovery will the results be?  The doctors cannot say, as every case varies, but there has been DEFINITIVE, positive outcomes from patients who have had this transfusion done.  With this information, we are full of HOPE that this will be the MIRACLE that'll give our sweet Stella a chance at a "normal" life, but we are in desperate need of your help.

Since May, we took action and went through many steps to get the process rolling for Stella to get this Stem Cells Transfusion treatment, and now she's FINALLY made it on Duke's list!  The transfusion has been scheduled to take place at the end of August, which is less than two months away!  Upon the great news that she made it on their list also came the financial obligation news, too, and that the procedure will cost $20,000!  Her health insurance DOES NOT cover any of the expenses at all -nothing- and it's all medical expenses! So, we are asking EVERYONE to please help donate money towards making this miracle happen for our sweet Stella.  You might think that you don't have much to donate so you might either hesitate or pass it up, but PLEASE know that your donation, great or small, will MAKE A DIFFERENCE...it will be life-altering for Stella, and life-changing for our family, so please DON'T hesitate to donate...not even for one minute!   

And, PLEASE, we kindly ask that you help us some more by spreading Stella's Story by word-of-mouth and by sharing the link to your family, friends, co-workers and everyone you know.  Lastly, from the bottom of our heart, we want to wholeheartedly say THANK YOU.  Thank you for keeping Stella in your thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for the love and support, and thank you in advance for donating money towards making it possible to get "Stem Cells for Our Sweet Stella."      

Sincerely, with the Highest Hopes of Receiving Love From You, 
Our Flower, Our Moon, and Our little Star, Stella
Tracey & Dave and the Xiong Family

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Phoenix Lor 
Apopka, FL
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