Mia Amerson was only 2 months old when she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia disease (SCD). Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become rigid, sticky and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. These irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.
Things started pretty quickly. From age 6 months through May of 2016, she needed frequent blood transfusions. At the early age of 15 months, and after many hospital visits and blood transfusions she had to receive a splenectomy. Mia had many trips to the hospital due to what is called a “Crisis” or “Pain Crisis.” Crises for Mia were instances when her body temperature rose over 100.1 degrees and she experienced co-existing pain in her legs, feet, hands and/or arms. Her fevers sometimes reached as high as 104 degrees and she experienced pneumonia during one episode, as well.
As a result of multiple and frequent crises with no improvement, her caregivers at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital recommended a bone marrow transplant, which gave her parents a lot to think about. After deciding to proceed with the transplant, Mia’s chronic illnesses caused a delay for transplant several times; however, she was finally able to receive her transplant in May, 2016.
Mia’s health has turned around since transplant and she’s beginning to start a more normal kid’s life. In August of 2017, Mia will start Kindergarten and she is so thankful for her caregivers in The Costas Center and the bone marrow donor that allowed her another chance at life.