Once a month Ragina Bell travels to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland for a blood transfusion that literally keeps her alive by replacing her faulty red blood cells with healthy ones. The trip requires an overnight stay and she must find someone to watch her two sons while she’s away.
“When I first get a transfusion I feel tingly like I had a lot of caffeine, and I have a lot of energy. I feel great. But as the month wears on I get more tired, and I sleep more,” said Bell, who was born with sickle cell anemia, a genetic disease that disproportionately strikes Blacks and Hispanics. “Even though I’m 32, Oakland children’s hospital is still taking care of me since they have one of the few adult sickle cell clinics.”