It’s World Blood Donor Day and all over the globe, an appeal is being made, urging healthy persons to give blood. In the following segment of Healthy Living, we have the story of a Sickle Cell patient whose survival depends on blood transfusions. It is a stark reminder that giving blood can save a life.
Stephen Williams, Sickle Cell Patient
“If you could do it for somebody else life, then you do it for somebody else. Life is very important. Life is so important that if you live one extra day or one extra moment, then it would value more than anything in the entire world.”
Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
This is the plea of a fifty-three year old man who has spent most of his life battling the blood disorder: sickle cell anemia. Stephen Williams has been dependent on blood transfusions as a means of survival since he was diagnosed as a child.
“From I was nineteen years old; no, twelve years old, they didn’t know what it is. So it’s Dr. Taegar who found out what it was and that I had sickle cell anemia. From twelve to twenty-one, I didn’t know what to do because it is just suffering.”
“Like pains all over, You have to be in and out of the hospital suffering. Blood transfusion every maybe like three to four times for the year and it makes that you cannot do what you want to do because every minute you have to be in the hospital.”
Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary blood disease s where the red blood cells form an abnormal sickle or crescent shape. Normal red blood cells would move easily through the blood vessels, taking oxygen to every part of the body. Sickled cells get stuck and block blood vessels, which stops the oxygen from getting through. The result is a lot of pain. Also, it may lead to damage of the organs, muscles, and bones.
Ed Williams, Steven’s brother
“Physical pain, all over, wherever the blood flows. You know, it’s like nothing relieves it. So he was, most of the time he was kind a miserable can you imagine. I mean can you blame him?”
Ed is Stephen’s brother, he remembers all the challenges his brother has faced from the time of his diagnosis.
“Dr. Taeger sat us down as a family and explained to us the implications of this disease. Basically, he told us that this is the reason why it is important to take a blood test before you get married and have a family because you want to know if they are carriers because if two people that are carriers get married, then one of their children will suffer from the disease, one will be totally free and the others will be carriers.”
Ed even introduced his brother to Buddhism; thirty plus years into his illness, Stephen says he’s managed through the pain because of his faith. He is currently hospitalization due to a sickle cell crisis.
“I was in and out of the hospital maybe six/seven times for the year, I’d meet about fifteen to twenty people to every time I come into the hospital; all of us together. And I was the only one that was chanting. I introduced the rest to chanting but they didn’t take it serious and they all died. I am the only one that is still surviving. I had difficulty breathing, I had jaundice—jaundice just creep up on me overnight—I had an infection and it was just like; it was like the last.”
He is need of A-negative blood for transfusion; and his family and friends have been trying to find donors.
“Well it’s a matter of life or death. Blood is life and I think if you have it and you have it in abundance, I think you should try to save a life. In my condition, my blood type is very, very rare. And for the past two weeks, they’ve been trying. I get two pints already but I still need another pint and time is running out on me. But I just don’t give up; I don’t give up hope. I will still get that last pint of blood.”
Anyone interested in assisting the Williams brothers can contact Ed at 600-4475.