Sickle Cell Research at St. Jude

By Emily West

July 15, 2010 Updated Apr 7, 2009 at 6:27 PM CDT

Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital is known world wide for its work with Cancer Patients. But there's also a lot of other ground breaking researching happening here.

Audrey Davis is a Saint Jude Parent. She says, "I for one always associated the hospital with pediatric oncology."

Audrey Davis soon learned about the other research happening at the hospital... especially sickle cell disease research... soon after she became pregnant with her daughter Courtney.

Audrey Davis says, " It's been an amazing journey. One that started out here with three years of a lot of Pain. A lot of time spent as in-patients. A lot of mental struggles as well as a lot of Physical Struggles for Courtney."

Courtney was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease before she was born.

There is no cure for Sickle Cell disease... which is an inherited blood disorder...mostly affecting African Americans.

Charlotte Hoyle is the Community Outreach Director for the Sickle Cell Program at Saint Jude.

She says, "This is an example of a whole cell. It's red because sick cell affects a red cell. In sickle cell disease, this looks like a croissant. This is cut in the shape of a banana and clump together. And with that clumping, produces a lot of pain. Lots of Organ Damage, because remember blood is all over the body so wherever the blood is, it can produce damage."

Courtney became part of a research group at St. Jude when she was three years old.

Courtney says the nurses and staff are very friendly. "They try to get you prepared and tell you as much as they can about how they're going to do it, and how long it will be and what you're going to do. They always try to have a way to make it easier for you."

Her mom, Audrey says, "We hope that one day there will be a cure, but we'll always be part of the St. Jude family. St. Jude has done more things for us than we could have ever expected. I love to tell people my favorite thing. Instead of working about her staying alive, I enjoy watching her live."

With one of the largest pediatric sickle cell research programs here at Saint Jude, the research continues with the hope that one-day children and families won't know the pain associated with sickle cell disease.

In Memphis, Emily West News 25.

You can help the research and patients at Saint Jude by purchasing a ticket for the Saint Jude Dream Home give away.

Tickets can be found at any Kroger, Jim Maloof Realtor and South Side Bank location throughout Peoria County through Wednesday, June 24.

If you get your ticket by April 30th... you are eligible to win the Early Bird prize... groceries for a year.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.