Patrick Stiff, MD, director of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University, is one of the pioneers for curing or slowing leukemia with umbilical cord blood transplants. His focus is not just local, but has been about training, educating and advocating the global medical community about this form of treatment.
My father, diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, was one of Dr. Stiff’s patients who required a stem cell transplant to beat this disease. When no family matches were found, through Dr Stiff’s team and the efforts of the blood bank, my father was matched with a donated umbilical cord from a German family halfway around the world.
Dr. Stiff led my father’s transplant procedure, and gave him the strength, optimism and courage to fight on. Because of this transplant, my father was able to see his first-born grandson play his first game of T-ball. While ultimately the leukemia returned, my father had two additional years to spend with his wife and our family.
I am deeply thankful for doctors like Dr. Stiff who break medical ground and enable the cures and treatments that give us more time with our loved ones.