Sickle Cell Anemia: Lawrence Paul
Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disease that is passed to a child when he or she receives a sickle cell gene from each parent. It causes the child’s red blood cells to not be shaped normally as a round disc, but instead like a farmer’s sickle.
These crescent-shaped cells stick together easily and can clog blood vessels, leading to severe pain which can last hours or days. Children with this condition can suffer from severe anemia and are at risk of life-threatening infections. Babies born with this condition usually start to show signs around 5-6 months of age. Sadly, the life expectancy for those with sickle cell is only around forty years.
LWB is helping to care for a little boy with sickle cell named Lawrence Paul. Lawrence Paul entered the Mukono Healing Home in Uganda in November 2017 at what doctors estimated was a few months old. When he was first admitted, he cried incessantly, failed to gain weight, and often spiked a fever. After much medical testing, Lawrence Paul was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.
With proper medication, his symptoms vastly improved, he started to eat well and gain weight, and delighted the staff with his very happy and outgoing personality. He loves to imitate what they say and to give and receive hugs. He knows all the names of his friends and caregivers at the healing home, and he loves to sing and dance, as you can see in this video:
Each month, Lawrence Paul is monitored at a local sickle cell clinic. His devoted nanny has been very careful to keep him on his medication regime and to make sure he eats nutritious foods. The few times that he has had a sickle cell crisis, Lawrence Paul has developed painfully swollen limbs and will periodically break down in sobs in response to the immense pain he is experiencing. This is very upsetting to the staff at the Mukono Healing Home who love this little boy so dearly.
While sickle cell is a serious disease, often requiring frequent hospitalizations, it is not without hope. Medications have been developed to make the blood cells less sticky; following a healthy diet and staying up to date on vaccines can also help prevent some infections. Bone marrow transplants can sometimes cure sickle cell disease. Currently a transplant is a child’s only option for full healing. Research is being done continually on this condition with the goal that gene therapy will someday offer a cure.
We are grateful that Lawrence Paul is receiving such nurturing care at the Mukono Healing Home, but he really needs a family of his own with access to top-notch medical care working to find the best care and long-term treatment for his sickle cell anemia.
If you would like to know more about adopting Lawrence Paul or adoption in general, please reach out to our Adoption Advocacy Team at [email protected]. If you’re unable to adopt but would like to support children in the Mukono Healing Home like Lawrence Paul, please consider a general sponsorship of $25/month.
Love Without Boundaries proudly advocates for adoption but is not an adoption agency. We invite you to contact [email protected] with questions about a child we have featured and encourage you to contact your adoption agency for more information about China’s Waiting Child Program.