Seven-year-old Joel Littleton has been battling sickle cell disease (SCD) his entire life, but he has not been doing it alone.
From the day Joel was born, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center have been helping him and his family navigate this complex disease with compassion and support.
“From our very first visit with his hematologist and the staff at the Aflac Cancer Center, we have found hope that has continued to this day,” said his mother, Joanne. SCD is a lifelong disease that can cause many health complications, including increased risk of stroke and infection, anemia, and periods of intense pain called crises.
For the first five years of his life, Joel took penicillin and iron supplements every day in addition to undergoing an extensive pain management routine.
When Joel was 6, he was rushed to Children’s with acute chest syndrome. Doctors informed his family that his condition was worsening and that he would require a complete blood transfusion.