It’s World Sickle Cell Day, and we’re taking a look at the chronic pain and regular hospitalizations that are the reality for many suffering from sickle cell disease.
Nikki Peterson, like approximately 100,000 other Americans, was born with sickle cell anemia. The 43-year-old lives in Upper Marlboro, Md., and ends up in the hospital about four times during what she calls a good year.
Once a month, she undergoes a grueling process called hemapheresis. All of the blood is removed from her body, the platelets and plasma are separated out and returned to her, and then Peterson is given 8 to 12 units of packed red blood cells. This helps to mitigate the pain she lives with every day.
“I don’t know what it means to be without pain. I have nothing to compare it to,” Peterson tells The Root from her bed at Doctors Community Hospital in Greenbelt, Md. “I have what I call my normal pain, and my pain where I need to be in the hospital. They always ask what your pain scale is from 1 to 10. I function on a normal person’s 7 to 8. It’s like my 2.”
Those with Sickle Cell Disease need frequent blood donations, sometimes as often as every few weeks to survive. The most compatible blood transfusion for a critically ill patient with SCD is most likely to come from someone with the same ethnic, racial and genetic background as the patient.
While high rates of Sickle Cell Anemia is prevalent in black communities, statistics show people of color currently donate less than one percent of the country’s blood supply.
Be a hero in your community, make a pledge to donate blood and save the life of someone with Sickle Cell Disease.
Please send us a picture of yourself donating blood to the Heart of Gold Foundation: The Sickle Cell Foundation of Northern Virginia FB page at https://www.facebook.com/HeartofgoldSc and encourage everyone you know help the 80,000 people in the U.S. living with Sickle Cell Disease.
If you or someone you know has Sickle Cell Disease and live in the Northern Virginia area please reach out to the Heart of Gold Foundation: The Sickle Cell Foundations of Northern Virginia so we can keep you informed about programs and services near where you live.
For information about donating blood check out the links and video below:
“Minority donors, African Americans in particular, have rare compatibility traits in their blood that are unique to the African-American community. Therefore, optimal blood matches for African Americans will come from members with their same ethnic background. However, while African-Americans comprise nearly 13 percent of the US population, less than one percent are blood donors.”
INOVA Minority Donor Outreach & Education
More than 44,000 blood donations are needed daily to meet the critical need for blood supply. While progress in medicine has helped reduced the severity of SCD, donations of blood closely matching that of adults and children with Sickle Cell disease is badly needed to save lives!
One of approximately 80,000 African Americans in the U.S. has SCD. Without the right blood match for a transfusion, immune reactions can develop from a transfusion causing more complications that make future transfusions less effective.
If this is your first time donating blood, the link has information and facts to help you better understand the process.
Thank you for saving the life of a Sickle Cell patient and for making a difference in the lives of people who love them.
re post from ‘I USE TO HAVE THE BLUES’
Mortality is my reality
Built on a hereditary technicality
Forever to be carried through this adventure of living
Removal of blinds
This was designed to be my baggage to carry
So I roll with the collapse of my veins
The needle exchange and the blood taken out of me
The fight taken out of me
Like a knick knack
Throw this girl a bone
Inside of my head asking for forgiveness
Streaks of lightening blazing through the vessel holding my essence
It is always present
24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
Sometimes I forget as if it was an illusion
Only for it to attack crippling my nature
Destroying my confidence
Displacing my light
Allowing the dim and darkness to invade
And so I lay me down to sleep
But this hospital bed is uncomfortable,
keep clicking my caller but no one will come for you….you don’t look sick….
Fighting this biting pain as my disability continuously rolls through my veins in a never ending story
Wheezing, body seizing, pain meds hardly relieving
But my moans never escape
For I am strong, I am woman hear me roar
Or whimper, or cry, or……or…….or………sigh……
I’m so tired
Davinna is a blogger/writer who believes that your own experiences shape and make you. Check out more of her poetry on her page ‘I USE TO HAVE THE BLUES
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I thought I had dealt with everything that one person had to go through, until the day I made the decision to express my concerns about my doctor care. Continue reading