Sickle Cell Anemia
Hasbro Children’s Hospital
“Sando would be what I would think of as a child taking charge of her disease—rather than her disease ruling her,” says Dr. Chawla of Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Sando is an effervescent young lady who hasn’t let sickle cell disease prevent her from living the life of a happy teenager.
When Sando was just 3 months old she had some unusual, painful swelling of her fingers. Physicians finally discovered the problem—she had sickle cell disease.
In September 2003, Sando had difficulty breathing with a potentially fatal complication of her disease: acute chest syndrome. Sando underwent erythrocytaphereis, an aggressive procedure which exchanges the sickle cells in her blood with normal donor blood via a machine. Blood flow was restored to her affected lung and Sando recovered quickly. Sando, her mom and Dr. Chawla decided to place her on a medicine that has helped keep her blood from sickling.
Sando, 15, now keeps a busy academic and social schedule. It’s clear to see why Dr. Chawla says that Sando takes charge of her disease—she hasn’t let anything stop her from trying new things and living every moment with enthusiasm and energy.