People can engage in voluntary work and make donations from a young age, but Takumi Shimizu had an unusally early head start: He made a potentially life-saving donation before he was a day old.

An obstetrician collected the blood from Takumi's umbilical cord right after delivering the baby. The blood -- containing precious stem cells -- was sent to a public umbilical cord blood bank where the blood-making stem cells were separated and frozen in liquid nitrogen.

Takumi's mother, Nami, knows how important umbilical blood can be. Four years ago, her little girl, Ayaka, was diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia. In this type of leukemia, too many immature white blood cells are made by the bone marrow.