Newswise — Most of the memories Lakisia Mobley has of her daughter Anyah Randolph's childhood involve hospital visits to treat her sickle cell disease.

"She was always in the hospital as a baby and a child," she said. "Because of her illness, it felt like we were always there."

However, now that Anyah is a teenager, she's making new memories, aided by the care she received from Loyola Medicine pediatric hematologist Natalie Kamberos, DO, FAAP, and the introduction of a new medication. 

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited red blood cell disorder, which causes the cells to be misshapen. Normal cells are disc-shaped, allowing them to move freely through the body to deliver oxygen. In patients with SCD, the cells are crescent or sickle-shaped and can stick to vessel walls, causing blockages and stopping the flow of blood.

"Anyah was 15 years old when I met her," Dr. Kamberos said. "She had been struggling with sickle cell all her life. She wasn't doing as well as I thought she could be so we talked about what we could do to make her life better."

Dr. Kamberos introduced Anyah to Hydroxyurea, which keeps the blood cells round and flexible. With the drug, Anyah has experienced fewer hospitalizations and transfusions.

"For Anyah, this drug was life-changing," Dr. Kamberos said.

With the help of the medication and the care of Loyola Medicine, Anyah was able to go on her high school class trip to Europe and was even able to climb the Eiffel Tower after the elevator broke.

"Anyah's doing wonderfully," Ms. Mobley said. "She's having fewer days out of school. She's working. She even went out of the country for 10 days. She would never have been able to go without this new treatment."

Loyola Medicine’s pediatricians are committed to promoting each child’s healthy growth and development. Loyola’s board-certified pediatricians and fellowship-trained pediatric subspecialists provide the highest level academic care for routine and complex conditions.