Ari'Yanna and her mom, D'Yana, are navigating the difficult, and at times painful, journey of sickle cell disease with St. Jude by their side.
Ari’Yanna’s mom, D’Yana, describes her middle child as "funny, smart and assertive."
But Ari’Yanna faces obstacles. Specifically, she has sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that results in red blood cells becoming hard and sickle-shaped and can cause painful and sometimes life-threatening side effects. Overall, the lives of people with any type of sickle cell disease are typically 20 to 30 years shorter than those of people who do not have it.
Ari’Yanna became a patient of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital shortly after she was born, when tests revealed, to her parents’ shock, that she had the disorder.
St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats life-threatening diseases; we have one of the largest sickle cell treatment programs in the country and have been researching and treating sickle cell disease since 1962.
Vigilance and daily medication are critical to maintaining Ari’Yanna’s good health. She takes penicillin and hydroxyurea every day and has monthly medical appointments.
I was scared when she was diagnosed. But St. Jude is wonderful. I feel like we’re at home at St. Jude. They make us feel loved — it’s never depressing. They relieve stress for the parents and the children. Every visit we learn something new.
One of these new things that St. Jude is teaching families like Ari'Yanna's about is pain crises.
Pain crises are one of the side effects of sickle cell disease and can arise from infection and dehydration. For this reason, Ari’Yanna’s family must monitor her temperature and water intake — and know the nonverbal signs that Ari’Yanna might not be well. D’Yana has also learned to help her daughter cope with the emotional aspects of having a chronic medical condition.
Today, with early diagnosis and use of recently developed treatments, the life expectancy of children with sickle cell disease has increased substantially. This is good news for kids like bright, funny, energetic Ari’Yanna.
Help our families focus on their sick child, not medical bills.
When you donate monthly, your gift means families, like Ari'Yanna's, never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.