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New treatments are offering hope to sickle cell disease patients

LaDawn Burnette and her son, Quadir Sheffield, 24, at their home in Lanham, Maryland.
LaDawn Burnette and her son, Quadir Sheffield, 24, at their home in Lanham, Maryland.

Sickle Cell Disease affects roughly 100,000 Americans every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Black Americans are particularly vulnerable to the disease, one out of 365 Black newborns are born with it.

The D.C. metro area has a high number of sickle cell patients relative to the rest of the country given the significant percentage of Black Americans living in the region.

LaDawn Burnette has four children living with sickle cell disease. She’s worried about her son Quadir who suffers from chronic pain due to sickle cell disease. She argues when patients are no longer considered minors, the treatment they receive is fundamentally different.   

“We call it the shark tank. It’s like you’re leaving the goldfish pond where everybody likes to watch the little goldfish, they feed them, nobody wants to see a goldfish die. They have to deal with all those sharks,” she told WAMU Reporter Tamika Smith.

There are treatment options available for sickle-cell disease but they can be costly and difficult to access. We talk about them. 

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

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Chris Remington