WSVN -- A rugged ride for River and his mom is a perfect fit. Mom turned this into exercise and hip therapy to build her son's strength. The 3-and-a-half-year-old has cerebral palsy.
Theressa O'Shaughnessy: "River is doing tummy time in the swing."
This helps River strengthen his upper body. Kevin and Theressa O'Shaughnessy say one thing that helped their son was the decision they made before he was even born. His parents paid $2,000 plus a monthly fee to save River's cord blood.
This is video of River later receiving an infusion of his own cord blood at Duke University.
Theressa O'Shaughnessy: "Right away, we noticed he had an alertness about him that wasn't there before we got there. His success, his progress seemed to come more rapidly, by probably 50 percent."
Now, researchers at Medical College of Georgia are conducting the first clinical trial to determine if stem cells from umbilical cord blood can improve the quality of life for children with cerebral palsy.
Theressa O'Shaughnessy: "I think it's amazing. I think it's so great. That's what we need."
The study will include 40 children whose parents stored cord blood at Cord Blood Registry, CBR, in Arizona.
CBR stores the cord blood of about 300,000 children.
David Zitlow, Cord Blood Registry: "But what research is really focusing on is how can we use stems cells, which really are a building block of the body, to go in and repair specific tissue."
Theressa O'Shaughnessy: "He became strong so quick and able to hold his body up better and not be so wobbly."
His parents say River is moving in the right direction, considering they were told he would never walk. And they don't want other families left behind.
Diana Diaz: "We're told the FDA is awaiting the results of the study."
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