A month after Elijah Cook was born, he was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia: an inherited blood disorder that causes normally round and flexible red blood cells to become stiff and crescent-shaped. Sickle cell anemia (also known as sickle cell disease, or SCD) leaves blood cells unable to travel through the body and deliver oxygen.
There are many symptoms and complications due to SCD, such as stroke, organ damage, episodes of pain and aplastic crisis, where your body stops producing red blood cells.
Eli is a fighter, but throughout his life he will need to receive multiple blood transfusions to prevent and manage his symptoms. Since matches for transfusions tend to be found within a patient’s own ethnic background, Black and African-American donors may be Elijah’s best hope.