Karina and Jesus DeLeon credit public cord blood donations and the help of forward thinking doctors for saving their daughter. Valentina, now 7-years-old, was a healthy baby for the first five months of her life, but her health quickly deteriorated after her mother, Karina, stopped breastfeeding. The baby developed digestive issues and a severe lung infection at 9 months. The couple from Pharr, Texas had unsuccessfully tried to have a baby for 10 years and feared they would lose their little girl. “I knew that something was wrong because she had a low-range fever every single day, she wasn't keeping any of her medication or formula down. I just knew as a mom that my baby was wasn't right,” said Karina. “We took her to the hospital and a specialist ran all these different tests and everything came up abnormal." The diagnosis and prognosis were grim. A series of blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy revealed that Valentina had Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare genetic disorder in which the immune cells don’t function properly. Valentina was given a 30 percent chance of survival. “She had no immune system,” said Karina. “She could die from any viral infection. They told us the only thing that could make her be a normal baby was a bone marrow transplant, but she had no siblings.” In a desperate search for a bone marrow match, the DeLeon’s turned to a public cord blood bank in San Antonio. Valentina DeLeon lies in her crib. Doctors successfully used cord blood from a public blood bank to cure her Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). Courtesy Karina DeLeon / via NBC News Cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells — cells that can turn into any type of blood cell. When these cells are transplanted into the bone marrow they become functional cells that can cure diseases, such as blood disorders, immune deficiencies, metabolic diseases, some kinds of cancers, and even rare genetic diseases such as the one threatening Valentina's life. The cord blood procedure is completely safe for the baby, doesn’t affect labor or delivery, and the DNA sample needed to obtain a match can be acquired with just a simple swab test. Parents need only to notify the