DECC Weekly Update: Friday, October 17, 2014
TEAM DECC presents: Brenda Love, Denver International Airport
Featured Nonprofit: Colorado Sickle Cell Association

I could speak volumes about my epic journey with two of my siblings (my parents had six children – all girls) having been born with sickle cell anemia, a fatal illness. We proved the medical statistics were accurate; two out of six children of parents with the sickle cell trait would have the disease. The rest of us four girls carry the trait, meaning that if we had children with another person carrying the trait, the statistics would be the same for us.

You can imagine how their entire lives were affected by this. It affected their attendance at school, they could not participate in sports, we lived in a beach town and they could not go into the water. They were advised by the doctors to not have children; however, they lived through three live births (one child to my elder sister, and two to my baby sister). Luckily, their children did not have the disease, but they carry the trait.

After joining the Air Force myself in 1972, I was able to send for my baby sister when I got to Lowry Air Force Base in Denver. We looked for medical treatment for her illness together and found it through the Colorado Sicle Cell Association where we met Nurse Donna Dixon. She directed us to the University of Colorado Medical Center and Bonfils Blood Center, who together are working toward finding treatments and cures. Doctors in the Sickle Cell Program at CU treated her for over ten years. As she aged and her condition worsened, they advised her to move to sea-level since Denver’s altitude was detrimental to her condition. At one point while in Denver, my baby sister had asked if I would be willing to donate a kidney since the doctors were contemplating removing one. I never had the chance because she died alone in her home in Louisiana in 2005 after her last ICU hospitalization a thousand miles from Denver. She was 43.

My elder sister had died 25 years earlier in Louisiana as she turned 31 years old while in a medically-induced coma from which she did not awaken.

I ask you to support the Colorado Sickle Cell Association through DECC so they can continue to help educate people about the disease, provide comfort to patients and their families, and help find a cure so that no one will ever have to write this story again.

Thank you for supporting the Colorado Sickle Cell Association.

 This week's featured agency:
Colorado Sickle Cell Association

The Colorado Sickle Cell Association is the community-based organization that has been in existence since 1974 and provided services for the sickle cell clients in the Colorado area. The organization’s purpose is to educate the public and health care providers with accurate information about sickle cell; to offer sickle cell trait counseling and refer patients for medical services; to provide a platform and encourage to become self-advocates for their health issues; participate in research leading to improved treatment for sickle cell; to impact legislative and social policy formulation at the national, state and local levels.

The services are met by our organization providing the following: educational resource information; a meeting site in the community to have support group meetings; emergency assistance to families; the opportunity for fun activities for our patients; sponsoring blood drives and participating in community health fairs and symposiums; and serving on the governor’s advisory board and participating on the state Medical Advisory Committee.

We have three certified sickle cell trait counselors and four certified Patient Navigators. The trait counselors work with the Treatment Center to counsel clients with sickle cell trait.

Click here to learn more about Colorado Sickle Cell Association.