I moved my family to Canada in 2007. My second son, Omari’s first crisis began after an afternoon playing in the snow with his older brother in the park. He started to experience pain in his legs, after a few hours went by and the pain medication did not work, we took him to the hospital. Several hours later his test results came back, saying that he had Sickle Cell Anaemia.
Omari was born in Guyana, South America and his diagnosis of Sickle Cell Anaemia received in Canada came as a shock to us. We had no knowledge about SCD. The adventure begun as my wife and I educated ourselves about the disease so we can help our son in the best possible way. I have watched this little warrior go through so many crisis with a tower of strength. As a parent, it is tough to watch your child go through pain. My eyes would often get teary, my body gets weak but his words ‘Dad, I will be ok’ gave me the courage I needed to walk through this journey with my son. He would thank me for sacrificing my time, missing work, staying overnight at the hospitals and always being there for him. I assure him that it is my privilege and duty to be there whenever he needs me. No matter how old he gets, he will always be my ‘little warrior’.
At his elementary school, his teachers and classmates played a big role in Omari school experience. After his steady absence from school due to crisis became a concern to his classmates, we decided to let the school learn about his condition. A presentation entitled, BOBBY RED BLOOD CELL ADVENTURE, was done by his mother to explain SCD and how his classmates can help Omari while on the playground or anywhere on the school premises. The response was heartwarming! As a parent to have your child’s teachers and classmates embrace who he is and work with you as team to ensure him be safe, was very reassuring. That was one of the best thing we did for Omari: educating the community around us.
Over the years, whenever we would explain to people about Omari having Sickle-Cell Disease, he would become sensitive to the word DISEASE. He felt a better word can be used to avoid stigma. So he prefers the word CONDITION.
Now, a teenager in High school, Omari has grown to understand his condition much better identifying triggers, pain management and diet. He has been having fewer crises, doing great academically, and playing soccer and basket ball.
Olim David lives in Canada