When she’s not in a lot of pain, 11-year-old Tiffany Glasgow loves to dance, play with her friends, and act silly like most little girls her age. But when the pain returns, it is often so excruciating it leaves her bound to a wheelchair and unable to attend school.
Tiffany has severe sickle cell disease, a chronic and often fatal form of anemia that affects one in 12 African-Americans, according to the Center for Disease Control. People with the disease have sickle-shaped red blood cells instead of round ones. The cells have difficulty circulating properly through the body which can result in organ failure.
Doctors tell Tiffany’s family she needs a bone marrow immediately. In response her family has partnered with Delete Blood Cancer-DKMS to help spread the word about the disease and also try to get Tiffany a donor. “We are really asking people in our community to come forth and become donors,” says her mother Siloane London. “Not just for Tiffany, but for many other children out there.” Tiffany’s relatives cannot be her donors because, as Siloane explains, sickle cell already runs in the family—Tiffany’s three older brothers also have sickle cell anemia. It’s been difficult to find a match for Tiffany because the data bank of African-American donors is so small, adds Siloane.
Life with sickle cell means lots of hospital visits for the chipper pre-teen. “My school is very understanding,” she said during another hospital stay. “My friends also understand what I’m going through.”
“I want people to know that becoming a donor isn’t anything bad. It’s not painful and it’s a nice way of helping people in need,” she adds.
The few donor drives in her honor have yet to turn up a match. Still, Tiffany is hopeful. “I want people to continue to pray for me and for my family,” she says.
“I’ve had it both ways. I’ve had it good and I’ve had it bad. I’ll get better.”
Click here to find out more about how you can help Tiffany and other children in need of bone marrow donors.