Teenager Uses Art to Share Her Experience with SCD

Throughout her seventeen years alive, Daisha Felps has learned to face obstacles with resilience and strength. And obstacles come around more than she would like. You see, Felps has sickle cell disease (SCD), a rare inherited blood disorder. 

Symptoms of SCD can be managed using medication and other care but there is currently no true cure for SCD. Some people may be effectively “cured” through a bone marrow transplant but this is not effective or available for everybody. Pushing for new research, and identifying potential treatments, could be life-changing for people with sickle cell disease.

That’s why Felps is working to share her story, and raise awareness, during September—also known as Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Reporting from NBC DFW explains that Felps has always been extremely interested in art. She finds it to be a fun and creative form of self-expression. For Sickle Cell Awareness Month, Felps paired up with Children’s Health to help them create an awareness-oriented t-shirt. 

She hopes that, through sharing her own experiences with sickle cell, she can reach others and show them that they are not alone. More so, by continuously raising awareness of the impact of sickle cell and the need for new treatments, we can advance research and understanding in this realm. 

About Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)

Sickle cell disease refers to a group of rare inherited blood disorders characterized by malformed, sickle-shaped red blood cells. These abnormal blood cells get caught along the walls of blood vessels, causing blockages, pain, and other issues. Sickle cell anemia is the most common form of SCD. Sickle cell disease results from two mutated genes; these genes are normally responsible for the production of hemoglobin. If someone has only one mutated gene, they are considered to have sickle cell trait.

SCD affects people of Black and African-American descent at a significantly higher rate than the general population. An estimated 1 in 13-15 people who are Black are born with sickle cell trait, with 1 in 365 being born with SCD. Symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes) 
  • Delayed growth
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Pain crisis 
  • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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