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How Jordin Sparks and Family are Turning Grief into Action After Sickle Cell Loss

February 5, 2018 by Andrea
Jordin Sparks step-sister Bryanna

Photo: GoFundMe

While it is more typical in this day and age for sickle cell warriors to live well into adulthood -- some into their 90s even! -- complications can still arise that don't allow for that to happen. Just last week, singer and American Idol alum Jordin Sparks first took to Instagram asking for prayers for her step-sister. "Please keep my little sister, Bryanna, in your prayers," she wrote. "She's suffering from complications from sickle cell and is in the ICU fighting for her life." Later, she confirmed that her sister had passed.

To celebrate Bryanna's life, the family has created a GoFundMe, so in lieu of sending flowers, people can donate to help raise awareness of SCD, provide assistance with medial bills of other warriors, and establish a "Bry's Corner" in hospitals around the country, so patients can have a "fun space" to spend time in during hospital stays.

The fact that some warriors still don't get a chance to live to adulthood confirms what we've already known even further -- much more research and resources are needed to discover a cure and to help extend the lives of all warriors until a cure is found.

According to WHAS11, an ABC affiliate out of Louisville, Kentucky, doctors at the city's Norton Children's Hospital are working to do just that. They've created a transition program to help teens and young adults be much more prepared for aging out of pediatrics and into adult care. "We try to practice with them, speaking up, asking questions, making [their] own appointments," clinical social worker Spencer Moorman tells the news station.

Currently, the adults and teens in this new program attend monthly support meetings to help them stay on top of their health as they move through the process, ultimately becoming solely responsible for their care.

Programs like this one are a good start, but we still have a long way to go.

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