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Today’s Faces of Sickle Cell Disease: Mercy Mendoza
Mercy Mendoza was born in Honduras, and for the first three years of her life, she suffered from a condition that caused swelling, pain, and immobility and nearly destroyed her health. Multiple doctors tried to help but failed, and fearing the worse, Mercy’s grandmother went and bought a burial plot. Finally, a doctor who had been trained in the United States recognized Mercy’s condition: It was sickle cell disease. Knowing that their daughter would need special care, Mercy’s parents brought her to the United States and they found Mercy the pediatric care she needed to treat her disease. Years later as a teenager, Mercy became a counselor at a camp for kids with sickle cell disease. There she taught others to manage the condition that nearly claimed her life.
Today Mercy lives in Houston with her parents, brother, and two sisters. She is the only one in her family who has the disease. Her brother and one of her two sisters have the trait. She currently volunteers for the Sickle Cell Association of Texas Marc Thomas Foundation, where she also conducts specialized outreach to the Hispanic community in Texas to raise awareness about the disease.
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