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Stranded outside in the rising waters of Hurricane Harvey, feverish and in great pain, 14-year-old Tyler Frank tried desperately to think of ways to get herself and her family to safety.
It happened in the nick of time. Tyler has a genetic disorder called sickle cell anemia. When Harvey hit, she suffered a sickle cell crisis, as her stiff and oddly shaped red blood cells clogged up her blood vessels and prevented oxygen from reaching parts of her body.
The pain of a sickle cell crisis can be worse than the pain of childbirth, according to the National Institutes of Health. Trauma or exposure to cold can trigger a crisis, according to Dr. Titilope Fasipe, Tyler’s hematologist at Texas Children’s Hospital. Tyler suffered both.
In the early morning hours of August 27, Tyler, her mother and three of her brothers awoke to water in their home up to Tyler’s chest. Soon, the water was nearly over her head.
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This platform is made possible through a partnership with the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc. (SCDAA) and its member organizations. SCDAA's mission is to advocate for people affected by sickle cell conditions and empower community-based organizations to maximize quality of life and raise public consciousness while advancing the search for a universal cure.