Sickle Cell Anemia
Dr. Larry Nixon and his wife Dee are grateful that their six-year-old son Jaden has never needed a blood transfusion. But they know blood needs to be available if he should ever need it. Jaden has sickle cell disease. For most cases of sickle cell disease, blood transfusions are needed to help control pain crisis and prevent strokes. Dr. Nixon worries that it is only a matter of time before Jaden will need blood.
Dr. Nixon said, speaking with grim concern, “Statistically there is a great chance Jaden will need blood transfusions in the future.”
“Blood donors make a difference in the sickle cell community,” adds Mrs. Nixon. “We donate because there are other families which blood donations impact. Many children with sickle cell need regular blood transfusions.”
Currently, the only cure for sickle cell is a bone marrow transplant, which requires an exact match. Until another cure is available, people suffering from the disease live in hope that a donor match is found and that the blood they need to combat their illness is available when they need it.
In the meantime, Jaden is an active little boy who enjoys video games and playing the violin and drums.
Watching his son, Dr. Nixon muses: “Where will you be when Jaden needs blood?”
The Nixons are the founders of the Cure Sickle Cell Foundation, and work to educate the community about the disease, treatments and the need for a cure. Mississippi Blood Services has started the “Make A Connection” program, which encourages African Americans to donate blood.