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Jamal

Greensboro, North Carolina

For nearly a year, Jamal has been undergoing apheresis therapy to treat his low oxygen levels, a symptom of his sickle cell disease. Monthly apheresis treatments replace his sickled blood with fresh cells that are able to carry oxygen throughout his body.

Before beginning the therapy, Jamal’s heart was pumping blood twice as fast, depleting his body’s oxygen supply quickly. He was tired and slept a lot. His friends said he wasn’t himself. But after he received a transfusion, everything is different.

Jamal

“I have more energy, I’m more alert,” Jamal said. “I’m able to get out of the house, spend time with my family and friends. I can return to life again – return to normal.”

Jamal has been receiving blood transfusions for a long time. Doctors diagnosed him with sickle cell at 6 months old. He experienced his first pain crisis at about 1 year old. He continued having them until age 10, when a stroke lead to a change in his medication that left him crisis free until the age of 22.

“I’ll receive one or two units of blood to increase my healthy cells and shorten the crisis,” he said. “It really helps me out.”

On rare occasions, Jamal will require a blood exchange. The process of removing his sickled blood and replacing it with eight units of donated blood used to take all day. Now, it only takes a few hours.

Whether he is receiving one unit or eight, Jamal said the blood donations make a tremendous difference in his life, and he is so thankful for those who are willing to give.

“It’s nothing but a miracle,” he said.

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