Kami Crawford’s life depends on a reliable source of blood. Every three weeks Kami is hooked up to equipment at University Hospital that removes her blood, replaces the red blood cells deformed by sickle cell disease with healthy donor red blood cells, then pumps the replenished blood back into her body.
Kami has sickle cell disease, a blood disorder that affects the red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body.
Treating Sickle Cell Disease
“The treatment I get is called apheresis,” Kami said. “They take this huge machine to take out my blood cells which are affected by sickle cell, and they give me new cells, which help me feel more okay, not as tired or in pain.”
Without the transfusions, Kami would be vulnerable to stroke, extreme pain, blindness, fatigue, cognitive difficulty and organ failure.
“Sickle cell disease is a genetic mutation in the protein in our red blood cells called hemoglobin that carries oxygen,” said Dr. Melissa Frei-Jones, medical director of the Sickle Cell Disease Program at University Health. “Whenever the red blood cells give away their oxygen, the red blood cells can change shape and they form a sickle, which is where the disease gets its name.”
Request for Blood Donations
Patients like Kami depend on a regular supply of blood to get their treatments. Kami asks everyone in San Antonio who is able to donate to give when they can.
“If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be able to function and do simple things like go to school, do homework, go out and do the things I love,” Kami said. “I know it can be scary and that it’s not always something that you can make time for, but if you are ever able to, it changes so many people’s lives.”
Donate Blood at University Health
Your gift supports the countless patients like Kami who come through our doors needing blood every year. From transplant patients to women with high-risk pregnancies, learn more about how your donation helps.
Schedule your appointment to donate blood.