Kyle & Carla Poppleton
Kyle & Carla are currently living in Botswana. In December 2012 they got in touch with us to discuss the possibility of storing their unborn child’s umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cells. At the time they had no idea just how important that decision was going to be. A month later and they chose to store with us. Their little girl, Paige, was born at The Portland Hospital for Women & Children in London in March 2013. Carla then got back in touch in February 2014 to let us know the news that Paige had been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. She told us that it was mild and that they were working very hard with the Physio and Occupational Therapist. At the same time both Kyle and Carla were doing their best to keep a very positive attitude. In the coming months Kyle & Carla and the team at Smart Cells worked together to provide the hospital with all the information required for a potential transplant. In April 2014, we released and shipped their cord blood unit to Dukes University in North Carolina, USA for use in a transplant. Carla told us “We are just so grateful that we had the opportunity to save Paige’s cord blood stem cells and let’s hope they can make a difference.”
Carla was kind enough to let us know why she stored with Smart Cells and how the sample has been used for her daughter Paige.
Why did you decide to store you baby’s stem cells and why did you choose Smart Cells?
Kyle and I did some research into stem cell storage and Smart Cells most certainly came out tops. They were great from the moment we signed up to the day we unfortunately (and fortunately that we had them) had to request our daughters stem cells to be sent to America for the re-infusion. It is not very common to store your child’s stem cells in South Africa and Botswana so it was very foreign to us, until we did more research into it and it became more clear as to why one should store the stem cells and cord blood. The medical world is evolving so quickly, it is the best investment we could ever have made for our daughter, Paige.
What were the deciding factors that helped you to choose Smart Cells to store your baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells?
We were dealing with Mike and he made everything seem so easy and under control. From the moment we contacted him to sign up with Smart Cells until we had the stem cells collected from the hospital, he couldn’t have been more helpful.
What differentiates Smart Cells from other private umbilical cord blood stem cell storage companies?
Friendly, efficient and professional.
What was it like working with Smart Cells?
Unbelievable! They were very understanding as it can be a very stressful time as this was our first child.
What did you like most about us?
Very professional and we knew we were in good hands and that our child’s stems cells would be looked after.
Did everything work as you had expected it to?
Most definitely The stem cell collection kit was delivered way before time and collected as soon as the stem cells were retrieved.
What obstacle could have prevented you from using our service?
Obviously the cost is a big deciding factor but when you look at the bigger picture, these stem cells could save your child’s life and you cannot put a price tag on something like that.
What would you say to a friend or a colleague who was thinking of using Smart Cells?
If they are in a position to do so, I would definitely recommend that they store it with Smart Cells. They are a reputable and professional company and they are always ready to answer any question – big or small.
Would you recommend this service to others, if so why?
Most definitely, it is possibly the best investment you could ever make for your child. You never know what is going to happen in 10-15 year’s time.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
Thank you for the wishes and as soon as we have reached Dukes and the infusion is done, we will certainly be in contact and let you know how it all went. Without your service, this would never have been possible so we cannot thank you enough.
You have made us feeling confident that everything was taken care of and you made our lives so much easier where ever possible. Thank you again and we look forward to speaking again soon.
Update from Carla on 23/05/2014
We arrived back from the States last Sunday (18/05/2014) and we are just trying to get back to normality as the jet lag was a problem for us. Poor little Paige can’t understand why she has so much energy at 02:00am and we want to sleep.
Dukes University was incredible. They made us feel so welcome and at ease. They helped out wherever possible. There was nothing to big or too small, they even went as far as offering to collect us from the airport when we arrived.
It was a lot more straight forward then we had anticipated. We had to be there at 11:00 so that they could start preparing the cord blood. Once the IV was in (which took a few attempts and I don’t think Paige is going to trust us for a while) but once it was on, the infusion took about 10 minutes followed by 2 hours of a saline drip. Paige slept for most of the time we were there. She was so brave, it was us who were the problem, stressing and worrying too much.
But all in all, we are so happy that we had the opportunity to do it, and now it’s all done. We just have to wait and see what the outcome will be.
In 3 months time Dukes University would like a report on Paige’s progress, and I will be keeping you informed as to how Paige is doing.
Update from Carla on 15/07/2014
How was Paige before the treatment?
At 6 months, Paige could not sit and spent most of her time with her right little hand in a fist and her toes curled up. We knew then, something was not right. We then started intense Physio therapy and occupational therapy in Johannesburg. We travel there every 2 weeks for a week of therapy.
How is Paige now?
She is a very determined little girl and surprises us everyday. We were told that if there are any changes made by the cord blood re infusion we would see it between 3-6 months after re infusion. It has been exactly 2 months since we visited Dukes University. Paige is crawling, which never thought she would be able to do and most recently climbing stairs, pulling herself up onto furniture and standing while hold my hand. It is difficult to say if this is due to the re infusion or purely from her natural development.
We just know, we have done everything in our power to help make Paige’s life that little bit more easier. As much as the trip over to America was stressful (more for us than Paige) we would do it over again in a heart beat.
Smart Cells arranged the shipment, etc for us and all we had to do was get there. They were truly amazing and nothing was ever a problem. The support that we received in a situation like this made us realise that we made the best decision to store our daughters stem cells and cord blood with them.
Update from Carla on 29/10/2015
How has everything been since we last spoke to you?
We are all doing very well thanks. Paige has started preschool and loving it. The teachers have been fantastic and so supportive. Paige’s Occupational therapist goes to school once a week so show the teachers what they can do to help Paige through play and help her with day to day activities.
How has her development affected her lifestyle and has Paige had any further treatment?
To be honest I thought Paige would battle a bit more at school but she has just sailed in and fitted in so well. Luckily kids at that age don’t see differences in other kids. She just seems to be improving all the time and is a real little chatter box.
We did the botox on her arm in August which has helped her so much and now we just constantly work the muscles to increase the strength.
We still do block physio therapy every 2 months just to give us new ideas on how we can help her as Paige is developing and growing.
Update from Carla on 08/05/2017
What have all of the family been up to since we were previously in touch?
We have all been away in the Okovango Delta which was absolutely amazing. We have been very busy after a new arrival to the family. Ware still finding it so hard to believe that Tyler will be one in a few weeks. He has been an absolute pleasure and adored by his big sister Paige.
How is Paige getting on and has she had any additional treatment?
Paige is doing exceptionally well and she loves school and just lives to entertain. She still does a lot of physio and occupational therapy and we expect that to continue for some time. We are very lucky that the therapist goes to Paige’s school and they do exercises that will help her in daily activities at school.
She has just had her 3rd lot of botox in her hand and leg as we find this helps to relax her muscles and get maximum use out of her hand and leg. She is very active and nothing holds her back. She gets involved in all activities at school: Ballet, Monkeynastix, Play ball and Yoga.
She amazes us every day and proves to be a very determined little girl.
"I just wanted to thank you for all your help and advice with regard to our stem cell collection. Our lovely boy was born on the 22nd and collection all went smoothly. It was down to your knowledge and customer care that I felt confident to use Smart Cells rather than another company"
"Smart Cells are clearly very knowledgeable about their product. Even further, they spend time with the client to understand their wishes and current situation. I have found their response time superb and their manner very effective"
"Smart Cells gave us superb service and it was very cool that they were so kind to chat with us and show us the laboratory and storage units. It made me feel more comfortable about your company"
"Everyone who collects umbilical cord stem cells hopes they'll never have to use it, but we know we've done the right thing by bagging and banking just in case we do"
"Your assistance in getting the kit to us was of more help than you can know - We had the comfort and knowledge that we were as prepared as we possible could be for a severely premature baby"
"A stem cell transplant was the only way to save Ahmed! Ahmed is now growing in height and is transfusion and medication free. He loves school and playing with the other kids - he enjoys being just like the other children"
"Very professional, we knew we were in good hands and that our child's stems cells would be looked after."
"I understand that stories of cloning and Dolly the sheep make people worry that they are playing with nature but it's the most natural thing. When you have children, it is your instinct to do anything to help your child survive. This is just one part of that."
"We are all living longer and a lot of us will unfortunately experience illness within our lifetimes - storing cells that may one day become part of a future treatment or cure will potentially prolong and enrich the lives of both you and your family. It's a no-brainer."
"I hope to never have to use it, however if that time should ever come, I'll feel more prepared than if I chose not to store my baby's stem cells."
"I would have no hesitation recommending Smart Cells to anyone potentially giving birth - especially if they have any historical family health concerns."
"I thought the service was excellent!"
"Excellent, I would use the service again"
"Very Approachable when questioned and instructions are easy to follow"
"Great customer service. Really friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, professional and responsive. Would definitely recommend to anyone."
"I have used smart cells twice and was very happy with the quality of service on both occasions."
"It was a stress free process from beginning to end. The staff were all very helpful and nice and our phlebotomist, Ela, was lovely. Would recommend Smart Cells to anyone wishing to have their baby's cord blood/ tissue stored."
"While we are fortunate enough not to have required the use of it yet, I am put at ease knowing that my son and daughter's cord blood cells and tissues are stored with Smart cells. The team in Dubai were always available and friendly whenever I had a query no matter how big or small. I have recommended Smart Cells to a number of friends but it is the reputation and effective client service from Kazal and his team which convinced most of them to sign up with Smart Cells over the any other storage service. I hope no one ever needs to use this "insurance" and for all to be happy and healthy, but if the time comes for its use I know Smart Cells will be able to honestly and effectively assist me and the rest of the families."
"We want to thank you and your wonderful team including your service provider DHL for the super excellent service. Everything worked out beautifully as planned, even though we were in different countries and at such a short notice. Ace Service! Super Ace Team!"
"I found the initial communication was a bit confusing - ie; Understanding the kit and who would use it, etc. However, once that was clear, the service was incredibly responsive and professional. We would recommend the service without reservation."
"We strongly believe that the science will keep evolving and discovering new methods and treatments. Like every parent, we hope to never use stored cells; however, we like to think that by creating awerness and investing in stem cells we will be a small part of the effort to improve stem cell research and discover even more possibilities. When it comes to the Smart Cells team - we are highly satisfied. The Dubai team we dealt with is very professional and responsive. Fatima emailed us regarding every step and kept in touch during most important time in our life. A big thank you from all of us"
"This is the second time I've used Smart Cells - very efficient, reliable and friendly service."
"Mike and Danielle in particular were both great from start to finish. Really made me feel comfortable with the whole process. I would recommend Smart Cells based on the customer service and care they provided. Thank you very much for a very positive experience."
"All of your Customer Services Team have been an absolute credit to you. Any questions we had - you had a speedy response. You were very approachable at all times and was very informed about about what was going on. You made it very very easy for us to do this. Thanks a million, you were all an absolute star!!
"Extremely good service as we were very late contacting Smart Cells as I began labour early and unexpectedly. Smart Cells responded out of office hours, very efficiently and professionally. Arrived quickly to the hospital and did the procedure with no fuss and disturbance to us. Would recommend."
"The team was great and without their high level of responsiveness and thorough explanation, I would have probably selected a competitor."
"As we had recently moved back to the UK from Singapore, we had not thought about the collection of cord blood for our second baby as we had done for our first. It was not till I was in labour that we remembered. My husband called Smartcells from the birthing suite, and everything was taken care of swiftly and painlessly. The courier arrived after only a couple of hours with the kit so we had it in plenty of time before the birth. Amazing customer service and turn around time! Highly recommend"
"We were extremely pleased by the constant support and follow up by your staff. I was not sure if my wife did the right thing to call one of your colleagues at 2 am post delivery, but was delighted to know how politely and patiently you responded to the doctor's queries. We were really touched by this act. We wish Smart Cells all the success and would surely recommend to other parents."
"Everything worked excellent and you were there the best moment of our lives!"
"A professional service throughout, and our phlebotomist was fantastic!"
"Staff have always been very informative and helpful. They have responded to my emails and calls promptly."
"I am very happy for the service and care I have received from Smart Cells and the phlebotomy team. I would definitely recommend Smart Cells for cord blood banking. Many thanks."
"We have used Smart Cells twice now and have enjoyed equally good service on both occasions. Friendly, professional and extremely helpful staff made for a positive experience and we would happily recommend them."
"Brilliant service and an easy application process."
"Just fantastic at every stage, very responsive, knowledgeable and helpful. I felt reassured that there was contingency in place for the collection on the day and the collection and pick up was smooth but didn't interfere with the special birth day. All staff were exceptional in friendliness and helpfulness at every point."
"Every person I spoke to from Smart Cells was impressively helpful and friendly. I personally dealt with Mike, Kauser and Ketan. They made the whole process so easy and efficient. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Smart Cells and the individuals that helped make my experience a pleasant one"
"Smart Cells uses the volume reduction method. This is the most technologically advanced method to date and is being used by the most advanced companies worldwide along with the NHS. This difference, coupled with a top notch service left me extremely satisfied and reassured that I chose the right company"
"From the start, we wanted to explore storing our baby's cord blood and tissue cells. Smart Cells was recommended by our doctor and after our first initial meeting with them, we felt we would be able to make an informed decision. We still asked and got info from other companies, however we chose Smart Cells because they had the most comprehensive and informative approach and their staff were very knowledgeable, professional and helpful"
"Smart Cells customer service department was excellent. They dealt with all my queries straight away and were clear and concise, reassuring me and keeping me updated without being pushy. A professional service which I am very happy with. If I have another child I will definitely use them again"
"Smart Cells have been exceptionally helpful and a pleasure to deal with"
"From the very first phone call the service was exceptional. Your staff were incredibly knowledgeable and friendly"
"Smart Cells were really good help in explaining the whole process and giving me peace of mind when I had a question. Very friendly and knowledgeable. It was a pleasure dealing with them. The two Phlebotomists who I was in touch with were both nice and efficient"
"The service we received from Smart Cells was irreproachable! We contacted them on several occasions, by phone and by email and they replied promptly every time by giving us all the information we needed."
"The Phlebotomist was very friendly on the day of delivery. Overall I was very satisfied with the process and it was worth the money"
"Very helpful and friendly service! Smooth, quick and efficient process at a very busy moment in your life. Thank you!"
"I am using your service for my second baby! Thank you for everything. Phlebotomist was nice and punctual. Very happy customer!"
"The service provided by Smart Cells Oman was amazing starting from the day I emailed them first. Fatima Manzoor, Territory Manager, got in touch with me straight away and she was always available to answer any doubts we had. The follow ups were also great and gave us comfort. I thank Smart Cells Oman and Fatima Manzoor for all their help and excellent service and I will surely tell my family and friends about you."
"Great and efficient service. The customer service is very friendly and you get a lovely one-to-one rapport. Happy to deal with any issue but also honest in giving advice. Would certainly use again and would recommend it to any of our friends"
"I was absolutely satisfied with the service! Clear information, quick service and reliable staff. Thank you very much for your help and I will definitely do it again if we have another baby"
"The service was amazing, could not be better!"
"Thanks a lot for your quick service. I will never forget that I called you in the middle of the night from the Labour Ward and after 1 hour I had the kit in my hand. An hour later the Phlebotomist was in the hospital waiting for the delivery of my baby and to collect the umbilical cord blood and tissue samples. Best regards to all the Smart Cells Staff - My real life insurance!"
"A very professional and friendly service. Always ready to answer any questions and give advise. I would definitely use them again!"
"The service that we received by the team at Smart Cells was exceptional, thank you!"
"We were surpised by our labour beginning before we had received our kit. Smart Cells and their approved Phlebotomy service were able to provide the kit and arrive within one hour. Very Helpful with all dealings and all explanations were very thorough"
"Our previous two interactions with SCI were very positive but this time you went over and above expectations. The telephone conversations were very polite and informative. I will recommend SCI to everyone that we know who is considering umbilical cord blood and tissue storage"
"Excellent service, friendly, helpful and the Phlebotomist was great at the hospital and was a good part of the team. She wasn't in the way at all and stayed with me through my quick birth"
"Thank you so much for everything! Your customer service was fabulous and the process was very efficient"
"We have been extremely satisfied with the service provided by Smart Cells throughout the whole process - including the Phlebotomist who was always attentive to our needs. We would have no hesitation in recommending Smart Cells to family and friends"
"Customer service is excellent. The team were very friendly and knowledgeable. We used your company with our first child and used it again for our second. Would definitely recommend to our friends"
"I found the overall service very good. I have been very happy with the service provided to us with our three children. Should we go on to have any more children we would continue to use your company to collect and store cord blood and cord tissue stem cells. Many thanks for all of your assistance"
"We used Smart Cells with our first child and now again with our second baby. The service is excellent and everyone I spoke to was extremely courteous and helfpul. Staff followed up on a regular basis with me and offered their assistance if it was needed"
"Excellent service and also very helpful in all Stages of the process. Thank you"
"Great service and very happy that we went ahead with the process. Would recommend to family and friends"
"Thanks for all of your help and taking the time to talk things through with me when I first called"
"Very easy process and I am grateful for the additional explanations with regard to storage and use. Your courier was also very helpful when it came to pick up and transport of the samples after delivery which was much appreciated"
"Fast and friendly service. Always available to answer questions and queries. Appointed a fantastic Phlebotomist who was lovely!"
"Thank you very much for your good service. I received all the information I needed and the knowledge to explain the process. I will definitely use Smart Cells again when I have my second baby"
"Excellent! Very happy with the overall service, Would recommend!"
"Great service - you did everything you could to make the process easy at a challenging time"
"Once again Mike, thank you for all your time and effort in explaining everything to the last detail. After a bit of shopping around and considering other companies it was really your patience and ability to answer all my questions that made me choose Smart Cells over all the others"
"Fantastic as always. This is the 3rd time I have used Smart Cells and would do so again if needed"
“Excellent experience. The service is of outstanding quality.”
"At a time when there are a huge number of decisions to make, banking with Smart Cells was one of the easiest. This is a great company: terrific service, wonderful product, have already recommended to others!”
“I was very happy throughout with the service, timeliness and courtesy.”