When Jayden Dabney was diagnosed with sickle cell disease as a newborn, his mother, Jacquelyn Johnson, was shocked.
“I didn’t know what to think or expect. As a parent, I felt guilty and that I had failed him in some way,” Johnson said.
After years of managing the disease, Dabney’s pain hit a breaking point in January 2022. He became a patient at St. Jude the following month in the Teen Clinic for Sickle Cell Disease.
Not only did the care team at St. Jude manage Dabney’s pain, but they also provided educational resources that helped him better understand sickle cell disease.
“With a greater understanding of sickle cell disease, it’s helped Jayden achieve more because he knows how to manage it in a positive way,” Johnson said.
While receiving treatment at St. Jude, Dabney maintained a high GPA with support from a school advocacy coordinator in the St. Jude Imagine Academy by Chili’s. His dedication to academic success earned him membership in the National Society of High School Scholars. St. Jude celebrated his accomplishment in a special medal ceremony in March.
“When I think about all that he’s been through, an academic success like that made my heart so happy and full,” Johnson said.
Dabney started at the University of Mississippi with an academic scholarship in the Fall. He hopes his hard work eventually leads him back to a nursing career at St. Jude.
“Even though I’m a patient at St. Jude, I can still have accomplishments and do great things in life,” Dabney said. “St. Jude has inspired me to give back and help people.”