When Evelyn Cruz, a nurse practitioner in the Sickle Cell Comprehensive Care Center at Miami Children’s Hospital, noticed one of her teenage patients, Sydnie, having a particularly tough time during a treatment stay at the hospital, she took action. She contacted the mother of one of her other teenage patients, Tenille, who was also coping with sickle cell, and asked if she would mind introducing Tenille to Sydnie. The mother agreed and a friendship was formed between not only the two teenage girls coping with sickle cell but their mothers as well.
Their remarkable story is the latest in a continuing series of videos I’ve been producing for Miami Children’s Health Foundation, who raise funds and awareness for Miami Children’s Hospital.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder in which the body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells. In sickle cell disease, the hemoglobin in red blood cells clumps together, causing red blood cells to become stiff and C-shaped. These sickle cells block blood and oxygen flow in blood vessels. Sickle cells break down more rapidly than normal red blood cells, which results in anemia. Complications caused by sickle cell disease include kidney and liver problems, infections, stroke, as well as bone and joint problems.
About 70,000-100,000 Americans, mostly African-Americans, have sickle cell disease. About 2 million Americans have sickle cell trait. People who have sickle cell trait do not develop sickle cell disease, but they are “carriers” who can pass the abnormal gene on to their children.
You can help children like Tenille and Sydnie by visiting mchf.org/donate.
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