September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month: Mother Who Lost Son to Sickle Cell Works to Keep His Memory Alive

Linda Hubbard and her youngest son, Brax

Linda Hubbard has been dealing with the health effects of Sickle Cell Anemia since 1982 when her son, Brandon, was born. A daughter, Britt, was born with sickle cell trait and her youngest, Brax, also has sickle cell leaving her family completely immersed in living with Sickle Cell Anemia.

Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited blood disorder that is often found at birth. According to the CDC, sickle cell causes the red blood cells in a person’s body to become C-shaped, like a sickle, instead of the normal round shape and blocks the flow of blood. The effects of this are extreme pain to the person and other severe symptoms.

Sadly, Sickle Cell Disease robbed Linda’s son Brandon of his life at just age 27 and her whole family continues to grieve the loss. They decided to do something about the many others still living with Sickle Cell and wanted to do something positive to keep his memory alive and make it so his death not be in vain. Linda established the BranLin Sickle Cell Foundation to help children and families who suffer from the effects of the illness.

Brax and Linda at an event representing their foundation, the “BranLin Sickle Cell Foundation” in honor of Linda’s eldest son, Brandon, who died of complications caused by Sickle Cell Disease

Linda and her family continue the daily battle of what Sickle Cell presents as Brax received regular blood transfusions, something that can help with the “tremendous pain” caused by Sickle Cell Anemia. He has been hospitalized countless times and faces the threat of additional complications like more pain episodes, acute chest syndrome, fevers, jaundice, avascular necrosis, pulmonary hypertension and other symptoms that can shorten life expectancy. Through a clinical trial for gene therapy, Brax has seen improvement to his sickle cell disease and sees hope for the future.

“Help is on the way,” he said.

Linda’s youngest son, Brax, still lives and struggles with Sickle Cell Disease causing many hospital stays and blood transfusions and exchanges

“It is important for us to promote awareness regarding sickle cell since it is a debilitating disease that doesn’t get much research and many people of all ethnicities know nothing about it,” Linda said.

“Although it is the most common inherited disease worldwide, most are clueless of the hardships it presents and loss of life sickle cell is responsible for. I’m always willing to do my share to give sickle cell the attention it deserves.”

Now Linda and her family hopes they can continue to promote awareness and help educate the public about Sickle Cell Disease and ease the burden to other families living with it as well.

Brax says the goal can be summed up in the logo of his mother’s foundation: representing his hand, pulling up his brother’s hand in the fight for his life against Sickle Cell Disease as together they work to support others and ease the challenges of Sickle Cell Disease.

“There’s a lot of darkness when it comes to sickle cell, so I just want to share some light,” said Brax.

There is no widely used cure for sickle cell disease. However, the Red Cross supports one of the most critical sickle cell treatments of all – blood transfusions. For many patients, a close blood type match is essential and is found in donors of the same race or similar ethnicity.

Sickle cell trait is inherited, and many individuals are not aware that they carry this trait. Sickle cell trait is not sickle cell disease and it can never become sickle cell disease. However, health experts recommend that individuals learn their sickle cell trait status and consult their medical provider on what it means for them. It is estimated that about 1 in 13 Black or African American babies in the U.S. is born with sickle cell trait, which means they have inherited the sickle cell gene from one of their parents. Individuals with sickle cell trait are eligible to donate blood. Donations from individuals without the trait may be able to help a patient facing a sickle cell crisis.

Sign up to give blood at an upcoming Red Cross blood drive and make a difference to the patients in need of blood.

Click here to make your next donation appointment.

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Learn more about Sickle Cell Disease here.

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