DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – At only 10-years-old, Khadence Matthews wants to spread a message of hope for those like her, people living with sickle cell anemia.
Matthews invited CBSDFW to tag along with her as she received one of her routine blood transfusions at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. She receives her blood transfusions every 5 to 6 weeks and every time it lasts about 4 hours.
“Don’t be scared. Everybody is with you. Don’t be scared,” said Matthews when asked what kind of message she has for others dealing with similar challenges.
Sickle cell anemia is defined by doctors as a rare hereditary disease where unhealthy red blood cells fail to carry the proper amount of oxygen to the rest of the body.
Along with her mother and doctor, Matthews is sharing their story ahead of World Sickle Cell Day, and World Blood Donor day later this month.
They are hoping to raise awareness for the disease and encourage others to donate blood for life-saving treatments.
Doctors say in America sickle cell effects about 100,000 people, and while there are new emerging therapies, blood donations are still crucial in treating sickle cell anemia.
The problem according to Dr. Alecia Nero is the donation pool is not as diverse as they would like it to be.
“Blood is a life-saving therapy for many of our patients with the worse complications,” said Nero.