Who Needs Blood? Beyonce McCoy

When you think of mobile blood drives, ten-year-old girls rarely come to mind. However, Beyonce McCoy has been part of several. The Mississippi Blood Services (MBS) Mobile Services staff knows her and treats her like part of the crew. Beyonce suffers from sickle cell disease and, like many, now needs blood transfusions to manage it.

Sickle cell disease affects the red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body. Normal red blood cells are round and flexible, enabling them to pass through tiny vessels to get life giving oxygen to vital organs. Sickle cells are sickle-shaped and hard, making it difficult for them to pass through those tiny vessels—causing organs throughout the body, including the brain, to become oxygen starved. The result can cause episodes of severe pain; damage to organs including brain, heart, liver and kidneys; stroke; and even death.

Living with sickle cell disease doesn’t keep Beyonce down, however. Doctors had told her mother, Vicky Patrick, early on that Beyonce would never be able to participate in sports. Beyonce decided she could and she would. She enjoys cheerleading, dancing, singing and (in her quieter moments) reading. Her illness doesn’t rule her life—she won’t be treated any differently and she won’t let it get her down.
It’s that attitude that has made Beyonce a true champion. Overcoming an obstacle like sickle cell disease is no easy feat. But Beyonce and Vicky have their champions, too: blood donors.

“Thank you for donating [blood],” Vicky Patrick says to blood donors. “It helped save a life. It helped save hers and others, too. Without blood donors it would just be a mess.”

Categories: Patient Stories