When soon-to-be parents are asked if they want a boy or a girl, most people say they just want a happy, healthy baby. For one mother, that answer took on a special meaning when her beautiful baby girl Leandra was born with sickle cell anemia.
After spending the first year of her daughter’s life crying, bemoaning the fate of her baby and family, Leandra’s mother snapped out of it and took action. “I may not be a medical professional but I know how to get attention,” she said about her decision to start a foundation to help fund sickle cell research. The foundation has grown to be the CFC-supported organization it is today.
As Leandra grew, she experienced two to three hospitalizations per year for pain crises and various infections, including blood infections and pneumonia. During college, Leandra missed a lot of class time due to hospitalizations, and she even contemplated dropping out because she was so sick.
However, thanks to funding from this organization as well as its CFC supporters, funds given to support sickle cell research have been used to develop new sickle cell therapies and on studies to find a cure. One such therapy, a cancer drug called hydroxyurea, was found to be effective in minimizing the painful crises associated with sickle cell.
Leandra, now 25, has been on the drug for over four years and is thriving. She graduated from the Georgetown University School of Nursing and started working as a registered nurse at the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Children’s Center in the intensive care unit. She also attends the Johns Hopkins Graduate School of Nursing – she’s aiming to become a nurse practitioner.
None of this would have been possible without the generous support of CFC contributors. Leandra and her family thank you for helping to make this possible.