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Today’s Faces of Sickle Cell Disease: Deidra Flowers-Williams

At six months of age, Deidra Flowers-Williams was diagnosed with sickle cell disease (SCD). The next four decades of her life were a tale of emergency room visits and long hospital stays, framed by constant, debilitating pain. By 2015, prostrate with the pain, unable to walk from her bed to the bathroom, Flowers-Williams grasped firmly at a last straw: a National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trial testing the use of stem cells to cure sickle cell in adults. She was patient #43 in the trial.

On September 9, 2015, she tweeted a picture (link is external) of herself undergoing a blood transfusion with the caption: “One day this will no longer be my life! #SickleCellAwareness.” Two months later, on November 19, that day came: She received an experimental stem cell transplant and is now free of SCD.