While no one wants to spend days, weeks and even months at a time in the hospital due to complications from sickle cell disease, 15-year-old Ariana Campbell might not have discovered her love for cooking if she hadn’t been diagnosed with the blood disorder.
At just a few days old, Ariana’s mom and dad, Aretha and Adrian, learned that their daughter was born with sickle cell disease. She began treatment at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta almost immediately, often being hospitalized for long periods of time for chronic pain, a common symptom of the disease. The team at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center gave Ariana and her family the hope they needed during these uncertain times.
“She had the worst experience with it,” Aretha recalls. “It was a lot on her."
In 2013, Ariana underwent a blood and marrow transplant (BMT), which cures sickle cell disease. The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is one of the largest pediatric BMT programs in the country, performing more than 92 lifesaving transplants to date, and treats more than 1,900 sickle cell patients like Ariana each year.