Iesha, 33, was a victim of the brutal disease which progressively got worse as she aged. It really wreaked havoc on her life after she gave birth to her daughter, resulting in her needing repeat blood transfusions and 2 hip replacements.
Sickle cell affects 1 in every 500 African Americans in the U.S. But, the good news is, this disease might be on its way out. Fingers crossed. The disease is extremely painful. It’s caused by oxygen-carrying red blood cells taking on a sickle like appearance. The blood cells deliver less oxygen to the body’s tissues, causing severe pain, stroke, and even organ damage.
But a great breakthrough has occurred! Iesha is the first patient to be cured of sickle cell.
“I just want to be at home with my daughter every day and every night,” she said.
The medical breakthrough resulted when physicians at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Science System performed a procedure using medication to suppress her immune system and a small dose of total body radiation before doing the stem cell transplant. The procedure allows for the patient’s own bone marrow to coexist with that of the donor. The goal of the transplant is for the stem cells to gradually take over the bone marrow’s role in producing normal, and healthy red blood cells.
Congrats Iesha. We’re rooting for you and all people suffering from sickle cell for a complete recovery and a future free of the disease.