September is also Sickle Cell Awareness Month. The first research grant St. Jude received — even before the hospital opened in 1962 — was for sickle cell research.
Both of MiErickis’ parents carry the trait for sickle cell, so they knew there was a possibility that their children could be born with the disease. Shortly after MiErickis was born, routine testing revealed the baby suffered from the disease. Individuals with sickle cell disease have red blood cells that may be shaped like crescents instead of discs. Instead of moving smoothly through the circulatory system, the sickle-shaped cells clog blood vessels, triggering episodes of extreme pain and causing other dangerous complications that range from organ damage to stroke to pneumonia.
MiErickis was referred to St. Jude for the ongoing treatment of sickle cell disease. Over the years, his treatment has included surgery to remove his spleen, a daily medication regimen, and hospitalization for pain crises.
St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. And St. Jude has always been committed to studying sickle cell disease.
“I feel comfortable taking MiErickis to St. Jude because the doctors specialize in sickle cell disease,” said MiErickis’ mom. “They’ve seen all of the things that he’s going through before. I think St. Jude has the best care for him. We love St. Jude.”
MiErickis is excited to start first grade. He likes basketball and video games, and his mom describes him as energetic and talkative.
I think St. Jude has the best care for him. We love St. Jude.