World Sickle Cell Day

AUGUSTA, GA (WJBF) – According to the CDC, Georgia is estimated to have one of the largest sickle cell populations in the nation.

NewsChannel 6s Derrikia Young spoke to a young woman who says she may have a disease, but the disease doesn’t have have.

“Today is actually June 19 and that’s world sickle cell day,” said Dr. Leila Jerome Clay, Director of the Sickle Cell Program at Augusta University.

The ‘GOT Transition’ program at the Georgia Cancer center cares for adults and teens like Eboney Hall. Doctors help sickle cell patients transition to lead a more normal life.

“Sickle Cell is apart of me but not necessarily all of me, it’s also something that, I think you have to come to terms with  because it’s not going away,” said Eboney Hall,Transition Program Graduate.

Sickle cell is a genetic disorder that affects the blood. Doctors say the disorder gives patients sickle shaped blood cells which cause things such as extreme pain from time to time.

“So we wanna just kinda empower them and that’s what we wanna try to do here in our transition program, is really giving them the tools so that they can succeed,” said Dr. Leila Jerome Clay, Director of the Sickle Cell Program at Augusta University.

“I think this program helped me grow a lot. I think life makes you grow up in general when you have something like Sickle cell disease, it kinda makes you take a step back and look at everything in like a finer lens,” said Eboney Hall,Transition Program Graduate.

“She was able to just talk back to the teacher and let them know hey life is tough, you know you have sickle cell but it doesn’t really have you, you could still do anything you wanna do as long as you’re making sure you’re taking care of your body,” said Dr. Leila Jerome Clay, Director of the Sickle Cell Program at Augusta University.

Eboney graduated from the GOT transition program last year along with 11 other people. She was also one of the graduates to go off to college.

“I think when you grow up with Sickle Cell, you realize from kind of an early age that you’re not necessarily physically different but biologically different. I think it came from more of like, understanding what was happening to my body rather than understanding that I had sickle cell in itself,” said Eboney Hall, Transition Program Graduate.

Eboney Hall went through the program for 4 years from a teen to adulthood and with the help from people like Dr. Clay she says she was able to understand just how different she was.

“Our goal is that we want them to be successful not only in their medical like but also in their private life,” said Dr. Leila Jerome Clay, Director of the Sickle Cell Program at Augusta University.

“I think my ultimate goal is to like be happy and be healthy and be grateful that i’m still here,”  said Eboney Hall,Transition Program Graduate.

“So this is really for the whole world to know that sickle cell disease is prevalent and it’s there and people need to know about so that’s what today is,” said Dr. Leila Jerome Clay, Director of the Sickle Cell Program at Augusta University.

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