Bima Baje: Stem cells help the body heal itself

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‘An exciting field.’ Photo by Kendrick Robles

‘An exciting field.’ Photo by Kendrick Robles

By Cristina DC Pastor

“How’s your snake oil, honey? Is it really working?”

Accountant Bima Baje can afford a joke now as she looks back at a time she was very new in the cell therapy industry.

Today, she is one of few Filipino Americans who know their stuff about stem cell therapy. She and her husband, Michael Stavitski, travel around the country educating the public on how discarded umbilical cords can save lives.

It was around 2015 when Bima and Mike saw a job opportunity in stem cell marketing. A top-of-the line cold caller, Mike applied and found a sales spot in one of the leading distributors of stem cell products. Of about 70 sales people, Mike was the first to make a sale. He would later be propositioned by a rival company who offered to make him vice president. With Bima’s support making him look like an ace speaker with PowerPoint presentations, Mike was able to bag various big doctor clients. Everything else was up and up from that point on.

“We studied it (stem cell technology) and learned together,” said Bima when interviewed by The FilAm.

Today the couple is on the cusp of opening their own medical spa in Red Bank, New Jersey, that offers Stem Cell Treatments, Vitamin Therapy, and Laser Treatments. They currently own NYC Regenerative Medicine, a concierge service where they connect patients to stem cell therapy doctors.

A divorce and an abduction
The Zamboanga-born Bima came to the U.S. already an accomplished accountant in the Philippines. She took an accounting job in New Jersey even if it meant commuting from Queens to the Garden State and taking a local bus or cab to transport her to her office in Fairfield. The distance, coupled with Bima’s surging immigrant drive, became an irritant in her marriage. After two years in divorce court, she and her U.S.-born Filipino husband finalized the dissolution of their marriage. They have a son, Kendrick, who is now 14 years old and became a pawn in the court battle when he was abducted. He lives with Bima and Mike in Old Bridge.

“He calls Mike dad,” she said.

Bima worked in Fairfield for six years and was able to supplement her finances from caregiving elderly people and taking on private clients, some in crusty Harlem neighborhoods.

Bima and husband Michael Stavitski on their way to make a presentation on stem cell technology.

Bima and husband Michael Stavitski on their way to make a presentation on stem cell technology.

“Lubog ako sa utang,” she shared. “I was paying the divorce lawyer $400 per hour starting from the time he left his office. I paid $60K in lawyer’s fees. They wanted to give me a hard time, but I never gave up my son.”

She met Mike through the social media, The two found a shared experience in their separate divorce and the common outcome of being down to their last penny after it was finalized. The two had a beautiful wedding in Freehold in 2011.

“Matalino siya, I’m attracted to smart, intelligent people. And he is funny,” she said. When they met, Mike owned a party supply store. Bima felt he could do more because he seemed like a natural born salesman who could easily turn a ‘no’ into a ‘buy.’ That’s when they both discovered stem cell technology.

Mike is now VP of Sales for BioGenix, a supplier of umbilical cord stem cell products that promotes “giving hope to patients who suffer from chronic conditions and degenerative diseases.” The company is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and its laboratory is located in San Diego. It has a relationship with local hospitals in California where umbilical cord blood/tissue donations from newborn babies are extracted by highly specialized technologists.

“We all have stem cells but as we age, our number of stem cells goes down. Babies’ umbilical cords are the best source because they have more vibrant and potent quality unlike an individual who is, say, 50 years old. Patients heal faster when treated with stem cells from newborns,” she said.

The procedure is not generally covered by insurance, but, according to Bima, they are now in 105 hospitals where stem cells are used for wound care and where insurance coverage may apply. BioGenix stem cells are also used by veterans hospital across the country for wound care and joint pains. “The Department of Defense and active military currently use BioGenix Stem Cells exclusively,” she added.

Not a cure-all
Bima explained that stem cells are “not a cure-all but offer significant clinical advantages.”

14-year-old son Kendrick Robles describes his mom as “determined” and “strict.” The FilAm photo

14-year-old son Kendrick Robles describes his mom as “determined” and “strict.” The FilAm photo

“They give our body the ability to heal itself,” she said. “Example, someone who is in pain due to rheumatoid arthritis that is an autoimmune disease. What stem cells do is reset your immune system so your own antibody will not fight your own cells, and fix the damaged tissues that cause the pain. In osteoarthritis that is categorized as degenerative disease, stem cells fight the inflammation and repair the damaged cartilage that causes the pain. Usually, the pain is only a symptom and signals that you have a degeneration.”

Treatment can be quick and a little expensive.

“An injection can be done in five minutes in the doctor’s office. Usually a patient goes through a series of three monthly injections at the cost of up to $10K per session for autoimmune diseases and only one injection for joints and neuropathy,” she said.

She shared the story of a FilAm doctor who travels to an Asian country for stem cell treatment. “Her stem cells are derived from fetal sheep,” she exclaimed in shock. “A sheep is a different specie and could be dangerous. But not many people know about stem cell technology and that it is regulated by the FDA.”

Stem cells is an “exciting field,” she said. There is so much to explore about this latest advancement in medical technology. Bima is thrilled that her learning never stops. “I love it.”

© The FilAm 2018

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