At two years old, Dikari Joseph began to exhibit symptoms like poor appetite, vomiting and lethargy. At a visit to the ER, he was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease, a hereditary disorder that causes abnormally-shaped red blood cells. These ‘sickle cells’ can block blood vessels, causing inflammation, dehydration and anemia. It also causes both chronic, ongoing pain and extreme flare-ups known as a “pain crisis.” Dikari lives with the chronic pain caused by Sickle Cell Disease. “It affects my daily life,” he said. “Some days are just better than others. It’s a daily struggle.”
Dikari, who has received multiple transfusions of blood and platelets during his treatment, understands what a difference blood donors can make. He encourages those thinking of donating for the first time to consider the impact it can have on someone’s life. “If someone were scared to donate blood, I would say to do it,” he said. “You never know whose life you might change.” He appreciates the blood donors and LifeSouth staff for making his treatment possible. “I think LifeSouth has a great calling. I know they’ve saved my life once or twice. You gave me a chance to continue to live life to the fullest and seize every moment. I’m grateful.”
Learn more about Sickle Cell Disease and how you can help here.