The Cure for Sickle Cell Anemia May Be One Healthy Stem Cell Away

I recently had the opportunity to learn about the viability of cord blood preservation and the impact it can have on the lives of children who may, unfortunately, become ill. Admittedly, I knew little about the process of cord blood banking, and subsequent use of cord blood, and how it might be important to families. That’s why I took the opportunity to learn from the ViaCord team, courtesy of BlogHer, Inc. The presentation was led by Kate Falcon Girard, RN/MSN, former L&D nurse, principal clinical affairs specialist; and Morey Kraus, a stem cell biologist.


I met a great group of women from all walks of life. I’m a social worker, so the women with medical and other scientific backgrounds intrigued me.  As a social worker, I’m always looking for new ways to help people, specifically marginalized people or those who are most vulnerable. As I listened to this presentation, I learned that cord blood banking could have a huge impact on people of the African Diaspora and I have to share!

First, the scientific stuff: I learned that a stem cell can replicate and become another stem cell or it can divide and break down and become a different type of cell based on some of the material in the original cell. Hematopoietic stem cells, specifically, are blood forming stem cells that can help create and repair the blood and immune system. This type of stem cell is found in the umbilical cord blood. You can read more about how stem cells and transplants work via Viacord’s user-friendly site.

Why is this development especially important to Black people?

Sickle Cell Anemia is prevalent mostly within people who are from the African Diaspora. While it exists in others (rarely), it is primarily found among Black people. Sickle Cell Anemia, when active in a person, can be rather debilitating. The crises can disrupt a person’s functioning and totally change their lives, altering the extent to which people can live and enjoy the daily activities of life. I have a friend who has active Sickle Cell Anemia and I’ve witnessed how her life revolves around these crises. It can be a tough road and curing this disease could bring about a huge improvement in the lives of those stricken by it.

At the event, I learned that children can be cured of Sickle cell Anemia with the help of a cord blood transplant and my mind was blown. I did more research and found that adults can be cured with stem cell transplants, too! Something that has plagued my people for so long can be cured? Wow. The team at ViaCord explained that by replacing the blood of a sick child with the healthy cord blood of another child, a child with Sickle Cell Anemia trait could be cured of the disease before crises onset. This is amazing, right? ViaCord has a blog post on the topic if you are interested in learning more.

Well, how amazing is it if people don’t know about it, right? I raised the issue of accessibility and knowledge of cord blood banking, and whether or not Black parents were aware of the options. I also asked about affordability and how we can increase access to cord blood banking, because of what they said is true, this could revolutionize the way we think about diseases like Sickle Cell Anemia.


I learned that there are affordable options and financial assistance for those in need. The cost of cord blood banking has decreased by 40% since the process began and there are companies that offer money-saving options like sibling bank free programs. When I realized cord blood banking was about $1200 a year, I realized that lack of knowledge might be the biggest issues for many of us; we simply don’t know this is a viable option! I remember receiving a pamphlet when my son was born, but I paid it little attention because there was so much information given to me, that it was overwhelming. But for $100/month, a family can preserve life-saving, life-improving cord blood and tissue, which could be huge for the future of their children’s health.

My hope is that more families, especially of the African Diaspora, are able to learn more about cord blood banking and the multiple possibilities related to transfusions and such. Right now, cord blood stem cells can be used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases and there are trials going on right now using cord blood stem cells for Cerebral Palsey, Diabetes, and Autism. I want to do my part and I’m glad to have attended this information session so that I can spread the word about this valuable option.

This is huge. I hope more people check out the research and look into companies, like ViaCord, that are blazing the trails in supporting scientists who are working on improving cord blood research, treatments, and banking for the future.

An Interview w/ @ReaganGomez #SurvivingTheDead #TWiBNation


I love having a podcast. I get to talk to my fans and remain engaged with a live medium that makes me feel more human lol

TWiB: After Dark welcomed actress, writer, and producer, Reagan Gomez, to the show recently and we had a chance to talk about her latest series, “Surviving The Dead”, a sci-fi thriller featuring Black female principals. Exciting, huh?? Yup!!

Listen as we discuss her series, her views on feminism, sexuality, and everything else we talk about on our show every week!


Be sure to subscribe to TWiBularity and gain access to ALL premium content from ALL of the TWiB shows





Push The Button — Full-Length e-Book Now Available

Push The Button

by Feminista Jones


Nicole and David are two 30-something, professional, Black Americans chasing their dreams and accomplishing their goals while investing in a romantic future together. On the surface, they appear to just like any other couple—they travel, work hard, and spend quality time with family and friends. Behind their masks, David and Nicole live an erotic, intense dynamic based on the complements of domination and submission and the peaks of pain and pleasure known as “The Life”. They have their boundaries, they play by the rules, and they seek to ascend to the highest level of connection a couple can achieve by indulging in their deepest fantasies and exploring the darkest corners of their minds.

Life for the couple is not without obstacles, however. What happens when a force from the past threatens to destroy everything David and Nicole have built together? Can their devotion to each other withstand the trials they are forced to endure? Push The Button explores a side of the BDSM Lifestyle that often goes ignored—the “normalcy”. Like any other couple, these two have their ups and downs, and they must decide if their love is enough to keep them together. Follow Nicole and David as they love each other, struggle together, and grow in their powerful connection.

push cover2

Cover Art: Raed Mansour (photo)

PTB, as is affectionately known by fans, has been called:










Push The Button contains themes of an adult nature and is intended for a mature audience.

(Trigger Warnings: Explicit details of BDSM scenes; Sexual assault; Domestic Violence against women)

Push The Button can be purchased here, in electronic format.

If you wish to contact the author for an interview, email

If you wish to donate more than the listed price, please do so here:

 Purchase your copy of Push The Button today!!!

Disclaimer: Push The Button is the intellectual property of Feminista Jones. Please don’t steal or reproduce her work without express permission.

#NaBloPoMo – I Have to Say ‘No’ More Often



My calendar is filled with events that I have crunched together over the next few weeks. I am unofficially on a college tour that begins at Stanford and, as of today, ends at the University of Pennsylvania (my alma mater). I’ll be traveling around the country speaking at various schools on everything from sex and sexuality to feminism to domestic violence and sexual assault. I really enjoy this part of being “FJ” because it allows me to connect with so many wonderful people. It’s also extremely tiresome.

I can’t be bored. It isn’t simply that I cannot stand to be bored– I CANNOT be bored. The effects on my psyche and body are tremendous and I have extreme adverse reactions to doing nothing. I’m always going. Moving. Talking. Doing. Something– anything, really. When I’m bored, I get headaches, stomach-aches, experiences dizziness, insomnia, muscle aches, anxiety, and uncontrollable urges to cry and scream. It gets really bad and I’ll have times when I simply cannot break out of the “rut” that involves me experiencing all of these symptoms for days on end. So, I do what I can to avoid that and keep myself busy. (I’ve got 3 jobs and half a million tweets to prove it!).

I used to have 4 jobs and full-time graduate study (for my second master’s degree) on top of being mom to a growing child. Gotta keep busy!

My life has become routine, though, even with everything that is going on, so I began to feel the boredom creeping, lingering over my head, and threatening to disrupt things for an indefinite length of time. I couldn’t let that happen, so as the invitations to speak began to pour in, I only declined 3 of them. I made sure to accept the invitations (as long as they didn’t conflict with others and didn’t “cost” me to participate) and set up an events-packed, crunch-time calendar that promises to inject spurts of excitement and… difference.

I just want to do something different. The threat of my life becoming a routine terrifies me. The predictability of it all would be horrifying. Just typing about it, I feel myself shaking in fear and anxiety. So, I’m going to focus on being thankful that anyone thinks I have anything valuable to say, especially to others. I’m going to spend time thinking and planning ways to become more fully engaged in the public speaking arena (a 2014 goal) and enjoy traveling to new places.

Newness. Newness is needed.



#NaBloPoMo – In The Nick of Time (#DV #IPV Financial Safety Planning)




October is Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence Awareness Month. I want to talk briefly about crunch time when it comes to leaving an abusive relationship. It is important for anyone contemplating leaving and abusive relationship to think about everything that goes into preparing to leave. Up to 75% of all deaths related to domestic violence (against women) happen when the victims attempt to leave or have already left the relationship and/or home. While there are no fool-proof, 100% perfect options that will guarantee safety, every victim should have a plan of some sort.

The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence provides a personal safety plan template that one can download, complete, and store in a safe place.



One of the things one needs to do when considering leaving such a relationship is to crunch the numbers– “Can I afford to leave?” Many will balk at the idea of debating leaving an abusive relationship because of financial concerns, but financial instability is one of the primary reasons DV/IPV victims do NOT leave the relationship.  You can read more about financial abuse in DV/IPV relationships here and learn why victims are often caught in a web of dependence and abuse because of financial insecurity.

Part of the safety plan should include saving money, if possible, and building an emergency escape stash. For some, this is difficult because abusers may demand access to all financial records, ledgers, bank accounts, etc. Even finding a wad of money rolled up and stuffed in a sock can lead to more abuse, so if you’re planning to begin saving, try to find a secure place to keep the money.  If you work, consider leaving it at work in a locked drawer. Perhaps you have a friend who is willing to hold money for you in his/her home or in a separate account that doesn’t have your name.

Figure out the cost of living where you are using this calculator. It should give you a sense of how costs will translate should you opt to leave your neighborhood, city, or even state. Sometimes, people underestimate the financial costs of transplanting one’s whole life to a distance place and may end up scraping in a way that makes going back to the relationship a more viable option than financially struggling alone.

Look into local resources that offer support for DV/IPV victims, where you currently live and where you plan to live. It helps to know that there are places you can go if you run into more trouble than you anticipated or if you simply want to feel that you’re not completely alone.

Have you told friends or family? If they know you’re planning to leave and have offered help, perhaps they can give or loan you money to help you with your transition. Some people may not be able to give you huge amounts of money, but every little bit counts. If they can’t help you with money, maybe they can help by giving you a safe space to stay or provide you with food and clothing (which cost money) as you make a new life for yourself. When it is crunch time, you have to consider all of the options available to you and not let pride getting in the way of you seeking the help you need to LIVE.

There is a lot that goes into leaving any relationship or transitioning one’s life into the next phase. Being in an abusive relationship increases the difficulty exponentially, especially considering the threat of violence that comes with walking away from violent abuse. My hope is that this provides a bit of help in the area of financial preparation.



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