“I like being part of the process,” says Shania. “Now that I’m 14, I need to understand what’s happening and what I need to do to help myself. Sickle cell is a roller coaster because I don’t know what’s going to happen when I wake up. Sometimes I have weird pains and I have to miss school. Not many people know why I’m not in school, but my close friends get it.”
Shania is showing everyone that living with sickle cell anemia is possible – her infectious smile inspires us all!
Shania and her mom, Tai, at the 2017 ASK 5K Donut Run .
Sickle cell disease is a genetic condition that affects the body’s red blood cells. It occurs when a child receives two sickle cell genes—one from each parent. In someone living with this disease, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. When sickled red blood cells travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such as infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke. The pain experienced by people living with sickle cell disease can vary in intensity and last for a few hours to a few weeks. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services