Taryn & King Walker

Siblings Battle Sickle-Cell Disease Together

Taryn Walker and herbrother King are flourishing in high school, but the siblings haven't had the easiest time getting there.

Both children were diagnosed with Sickle-Cell Disease and have relied heavily on local blood donors since they were babies.

"Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder of red blood cells wherein the cells contain an abnormal hemoglobin molecule which can alter the shape of the red blood cells, making them stiff and hindering their ability to pass through small blood vessels, leading to potential organ damage," said Doctor Matthew Montgomery, Hoxworth Blood Center.

Taryn and King Walker smiling in front of a colorful mural

Taryn has been on transfusion therapy since she was just 7-months-old due to episodes of splenic sequestration (blood cells trapped in her spleen).

Though she was able to go without blood transfusions for a two-year period, she started them again after an ultrasound showed she was at risk for stroke: one possible complication of Sickle-Cell Disease.

King is on transfusion therapy because he is underweight due to a high metabolism caused by his body working extra hard to make new red blood cells. He wasn't able to fight off infections and was hospitalized frequently.

King is now on Apheresis Transfusion Therapy, which is done through Hoxworth at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

"For Taryn and King to have somewhat normal lives they require blood transfusions every four weeks," said Charmelle Walker, the siblings' mother. "Their red blood cells only last 14 to 21 days vs. a healthy kid's red blood cells lasting 90 to 120 days."

Charmelle says her children become very fatigued and sluggish by the beginning of week four, and she's grateful to those who make the time to donate much-needed blood products.

"Thanks (to donors) for your continued effort to help others," she said. "The need for blood donation is constant and your contribution is important for others to live healthy and normal lives."

She wanted to emphasize what a great opportunity donors give to others by sacrificing their time and blood to help save lives.

Taryn and King wouldn't have come as far as they have without the help of kind-hearted donors in the community. Can you roll up a sleeve? Call Hoxworth at 513-451-0910 to schedule your lifesaving donation.