LUBBOCK, Texas — Having a child with a life threatening illness can be a daunting challenge for parents to navigate.
So, Covenant Children’s Hospital is making sure kids who are living with sickle cell anemia, know they don’t have to go through it alone.
They invited kids and their families to the Science Spectrum for a day spent learning about butterflies, and having a chance to get to know each other.
“It’s amazing because you know how they feel,” said Tra Thomas. “Like it’s a connection you get when you first meet them.”
According to doctors, Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited condition, where there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen throughout the body. For kids like Thomas, the red blood cells become rigid and are shaped like sickles.
The crescent shape can get stuck in small blood vessels causing pain.
Kathryn Pylant, a Child Life Specialist at Covenant Children’s, said she knew these families need a chance to connect.
“I saw the need just working with this population,” she said. “I saw the need that there are enough of them in our community, I felt like they needed to connect. They’re not the only ones having to manage this illness.”
Tra’s grandmother, Ruby Thomas said she is thankful for this group.
“Well, we knew there was a lot of kids with Sickle Cell Anemia, especially with kids of color,” she said. “Covenant is doing a great job getting kids with the disease together it’s just awesome.”
Tommanisha Cephus’ daughter was diagnosed with Sickle Cell at birth.
“We didn’t know anybody who had sickle cell,” Cephus said. “Now we’re able to meet people and know our families aren’t alone.”
As her daughter was running around checking out the butterflies, there was no thoughts about her illness, she said.
“She had a good time. She actually met new families,” Cephus said. “Their siblings were great. seeing her have fun and not have to be stopped by her condition its a great opportunity.”