Sickle Cell Warrior & Ambassador, Terrance Hill
Courtesy of Sick Cells
Terrance Hill spent the first 37 years of his life Terrance Hill dealing with the effects of sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that causes red blood cells to harden and form a C-shape (like a sickle). When hardened, the cells can get caught in blood vessels and cause serious complications for patients. These complications can include severe pain, respiratory conditions, organ failure, and even stroke- and Terrance had a stroke at just 7 years old. It was severe enough that as a child he had to re-learn how to walk following the stroke event.
Cold weather is often a trigger for the severe pain people with sickle cell disease experience so growing up in Chicago’s harsh winters was a disadvantage for Terrance. When plunged into a pain crisis a blood transfusion was often the choice for doctors’ to help alleviate his pain. Terrance says he has been receiving blood transfusions since that stroke at age 7.
In 2017, Terrance received a bone marrow/stem cell transplant that alleviated most of the symptoms of sickle cell disease, improving his life so much he says he feels “half-cured,” compared to his life before the transplant.
“It’s important for the world to know that Sickle Cell Disease is more than a hindrance that impacts the lifestyle of warriors by presenting oppositions whether we are at home, school, or work which can make the management complex for families and caregivers,” Terrance said. He still works closely with his sickle cell support group where other people with the disease can share and learn from each other’s experiences.
Additionally, Terrance is heavily involved with the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois and works to get sickle cell-related bills amended to improve the lives and care of other sickle cell patients.
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.
Sign up to give blood at an upcoming Red Cross blood drive and make a difference to the patients in need of blood.
September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Learn more about Sickle Cell Disease here.