May 30, 2014 8:22 pm
Updated: May 30, 2014 9:14 pm

WATCH: Kelowna girl’s life saved by umbilical cord blood


KELOWNA, B.C. – Nadia Bjarnason is approaching her third year of life, which seemed impossible last summer when doctors found her rare genetic condition, Dyskeratosis Congenita, was about to end her life.

The little Kelowna girl underwent a stem cell transplant at B.C. Children’s hospital almost 100 days ago after successfully being matched to an international cord blood donation.

“It’s umbilical cord blood from somewhere in the world,” says Nadia’s father, Thor Bjarnason. “Some forward thinking mother donated the umbilical cord.”

Nadia is recovering well and even has a new blood type and altered DNA following the procedure: she used to be O+, but is now A+ like the donor blood.

Nadia 4

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Nadia’s entire life-saving journey can be found at her website

Her family says the little girl was saved by blood and umbilical cord donations.

She will continue to see a specialist for the rest of her life to monitor if the disease returns or her new immune system begins to attack her body.

To sign up as a stem cell or bone marrow donor, which Nadia’s family says is crucial to saving lives, check out the Canadian Blood Services link:

And to help Canadian Blood Services raise money to support a national cord blood registry, check out

Canadian Blood Services has set up cord blood donation services at five hospitals across Canada. Only one hospital in Ottawa is already accepting and banking donations, while two more hospitals are in testing phases until the end of the year. All five hospitals will be ready by next year. The provinces and territories have contributed $48 million cord donation project, with $12 million needing to be raised by Canadian Blood Services.

Canadian Blood Services
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