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Charlotte, North Carolina

Khayla has a hard time counting just how many blood transfusions she has had, but she knows it’s more than 25.

Dealing with sickle cell disease has always been difficult for her and her younger brother, Kenneth. But for Khayla, her high school years were the most difficult. That was when she began receiving monthly blood transfusions at Atrium Health's Levine Children’s to help with the severe pain brought on by the disease. At one point, she was receiving transfusions every two weeks.


“I didn’t really have a normal high school experience,” Khayla said. “For two years straight, I was in and out of the hospital and I was never really at school, so the transfusions really helped a lot.”

At her lowest point, Khayla was suffering from chronic migraines and a sickle cell pain crisis at the same time.

“It was hard because it felt like I just wasn’t going to get better,” she said. “The blood transfusions saved me. Without them, I don’t think I would be here. And I wouldn’t have Ava.”

When Khayla was pregnant with Ava, her blood count got dangerously low and she was admitted to the hospital.

“It was to the point where I just couldn’t give her what she needed from me,” Khayla said. “Having a blood transfusion really helped because I was able to get better and still supply her with nutrients and give her life. My husband and I are grateful because she’s here. And without blood donors, she wouldn’t be.”

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