15-year-old shares struggle with sickle cell in hope to raise awareness
September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month and a 15-year-old patient is discussing her experience with the disease, in hope of raising awareness about it.
Oterai Obahor has been living with sickle cell disease her whole life.
The disease makes it hard for red blood cells to travel through the body, causing pain and other complications.
"It's a genetic disease, so it's inherited and you get the disease if each of your parents have the trait," says Dr. Kusum Viswanathan.
Obahor and her mom, who also battles the disease, hope to raise awareness about the illness.
"It has been under the table, and more people need to know about this disease that, it really, it holds our lives back," says Delmy Centeno, Obahor's mother.
Obahor has even spoke at her school about the importance of donating blood.
"Sometimes when we're in pain, we might need blood to help us out and get our hemoglobin levels higher," says Obahor.
With so many sickle cell patients in the city, Dr. Viswanathan is pushing for a sickle cell bill to be passed in the state senate and assembly. The bill would help with funding for research on sickle cell disease.
"We need to have the ability to give comprehensive care to all the patients," says Dr. Viswanathan.
Dr. Viswanathan says she wants sickle cell patients to know that they can still reach for the stars despite their illness.