South Carolina mother advocates for further research and treatment of sickle cell disease

South Carolina News

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Approximately 100,000 people in the United States are living with Sickle Cell Disease, including more than 4,000 South Carolinians.

A family from South Carolina says the genetic disorder impacts their everyday life.

“He is a swimmer. He loves swimming and of course, that can be a challenge with someone with sickle cell disease,” said Vesha Jamison who is the Sickle Cell Account Manager for the American Red Cross and a Parent Advocate.

Her son, Dreyland Jamison, was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at just four weeks old. “Receiving the news was kind of gut-wrenching,” said Jamison.

Now 11-year-old, his mother is still learning about the disease and how to care for her child who has it.

“It’s a long list of concerns and it’s ever-growing,” she said.

The disease causes red blood cells to harden and form a C-shape. Those cells can get caught in blood vessels and cause serious complications for patients.

“My son has been hospitalized quite a few times. We’ve had plenty of visits to the emergency room,” said Jamison.

Dreyland has received numerous blood transfusions, and for patients like him, a close blood type match is essential.

“4% of Blacks and African Americans make up our blood donors. We have to diversify the blood bank because you know those antigens that we carry, we need what I call ‘like’ blood,” said Jamison.

A disease that is limiting but not stopping children like Dreyland from doing what they love most — like swimming.

“This is a disease that is serious, you know, it is a debilitating disease. It is so challenging for those warriors who live with this on a daily basis,” said Jamison.

You can find a blood drive near you by clicking here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

DOWNLOAD THE APP!

Join our daily newsletter!

Click for latest news and information

2021 Hurricane Ready Guide

TRENDING HEADLINES