In this month of March Madness, when people around the country are crazed with their office pools and cheering on their college alma maters, I met up with a very special, five-person team who’ve been playing together their whole lives.
The team is from Ecuador and its players range in age from nine to just shy of a month old. It’s a very progressive group, allowing 3 girls (Isabella, Stella and Amanda) and 2 boys (Juan Diego and Joaquin Andres) to play together at every position. These are the Baquerizo children, and they are part of team Cryo-Cell International.
Isabell and Juan Baquerizo have stored all five of their kids’ cord blood with Cryo-Cell International. They first heard of Cryo-Cell ten years ago from their OBGYN in Guayaquil, Ecuador where they reside. Juan came to Quito where he met Cryo-Cell’s Ecuadorean ambassador, Anat Zoldan, and she became their Cryo-Cell connection for all five kids.
“I would call Anat and tell her, we are having baby number 2…we are having baby number 3,” explains Juan. “My first two kids, Isabella and Juan Diego are close in age and we had a slightly longer break between Juan Diego and our next child, Stella. So when I called Anat about storing Stella’s cord blood, I asked her, ‘it’s Juan Baquerizo, I don’t know if you remember me.’”
“Of course I remembered them,” smiles Anat when she takes over the story from Juan. “For me, they are not just clients. They are family. I have come to the hospital for the births or to visit Isabell after the babies were each born.”
The four kids were teeming with excitement over the new baby, Amanda. There was so much vitality and energy and tenderness too amongst the kids. And a fair bit of feistiness, as evidenced by the Juan Diego, who broke his arm jumping off a swing the same week Amanda was born.
Isabella explains that they are aware that there are other cord blood banks, but for her and her husband, Cryo-Cell was their top pick. “Just knowing every time that I’m confident the procedure is fine and when they leave everything is perfect. It gives me such a sense of security.”
I asked Juan why he banked each of the kids’ cord blood and the answer to him was so obvious. “It’s insurance for them for life,” he explains. “Same as you open an account for each of your children, to save for university, we wanted each child to have the same protection. Amanda has a little more though, because this time we stored her cord blood and