Former soccer star Mia Hamm’s brother, Garrett, died of aplastic anemia, which could have been treated if cord blood stem cells been available. After researching the procedure, Hamm and husband Nomar Garciaparra chose last year to save the cord blood of their twin girls, Ava and Grace, with ViaCord

Umbilical cord blood is a source of stem cells, which can be frozen and stored to treat various incurable diseases later in life.

According to Dan Levy, Hamm’s agent, it was obviously a very personal decision and it is not that everyone has to do it, but she felt the need to educate people that the option is out there.

According to Viacord’s Web site, the company charges $1,920 for the initial collection and processing of the cord blood, plus $150 for transporting the blood by courier, plus a yearly storage fee of $125, a total of $2,195 for opening an account. They also offer 6-, 12- and 60-month payment plans.

Currently, the company is advertising $100 off that price and will donate $25 to the Mia Hamm Foundation.

Source: Boston Herald [www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view/2008_08_12_Mia_Hamm_signs_deal_with_umbilical_cord_blood_bank]