SAN ANTONIO — Kami Crawford and her little sister, Kyra Crawford, both have the same extremely rare strand of Sickle Cell Anemia.
“I think we definitely know how to read each other, and we’re there for each other whenever we have our episodes and feeling like we can’t win,” Kami said,
They've both lived with pain and fatigue for pretty much their entire lives.
“Kami is 17 years old, and she had her first pain crisis when she was just 3 months," said the girls' mother, Dana Jones. "She cried for three days straight because she was in pain—so all they know is pain."
A bone marrow transplant could extinguish that pain.
Right now, there are about 20 million people registered in the Be The Match donor program that helps pair potential donors to recipients, but only about 4% of the registry is made up of African Americans.
"An African American patient who needs a match has a 23% chance of finding one on the registry,” said Ashley Frolick, South Texas Blood and Tissue Center communications specialist. “Oftentimes these patients have already gone through chemotherapy, they’ve really gone through all of the treatment they can, and a marrow or stem cell transplant is the last hope for them.”
Which is why the STBTC is increasing awareness about bone marrow donations, especially in the Black and brown communities. They say the more people are registered, the better the chance those with illnesses like Kami and Kyra have at finding a livesaving match
“Most people could look at my daughters and never all of the things they’ve through, and I think it’s a good thing but also a bad thing because, in the world we live in if, you can see if it doesn’t exist,” Jones said.
To join the national bone marrow registry, visit the STBTC's Donor Pavilion at 6211 I-10 West, the Shavano Donor facility at 4079 N Loop 1604 or the Southeast Donor room at 3158 SE Military Dr.
People can also text K2KLUV to 61474.