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According to the Center of Disease Control Sickle Cell Anemia is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Sickle Cell Anemia causes the red blood cells to become hard and sticky, creating a C-shape similar to the farm tool called “sickle”. The sickle cells die prematurely, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells.

Prior to my wife and I having our first child, we were notified through a blood test that we were both Sickle Cell carriers, which produced a one in four chance that our unborn child would have Sickle Cell Anemia. Once my wife gave birth to our son El – Iyah, he was immediately rushed to the newborn intensive care unit. It was brought to our attention that our son had jaundice, which is a high bilirubin count that denotes his red blood cells were falling apart faster than his bone marrow was creating new blood cells. This meant that before we could go home with our baby, he would have to receive a blood transfusion to give his little body the support it needed to stabilize his red blood cell count.

This cycle of sickness carried on for a few years. Regular hospitalizations, frequent blood transfusions and a constant state of anemia was becoming a very unfortunate norm. At the time my wife was working with San Francisco’s housing authority and I was working as an Intervention Specialist in Oakland Unified School District. We would have to both take time off from work at different times to care for our son’s complications with Sickle Cell Anemia. It didn’t take long for my wife and I to realize that this conventional, one size fit all approach for treating our son’s sickle cell anemia made week long hospital stays a reoccurring theme. It was at this point that my wife and I began to wonder if there was something that the doctors may have been overlooking.

It was at this point that we started researching with hyper enthusiasm, what role nutrition could play in balancing our son’s sickle cell anemia. We initially researched the molecular structure of chlorophyll and its similarities to hemoglobin. It was here that we landed on a particular path, powered by the plant kingdom. This is when our health journey began to shift for the better. One day after working with youth in restorative justice at Oakland Technical high school I took AC Transit to Lake Merritt to partake in some mindfulness of my own. After about an hour I was about to head home when I got into a conversation with a man from Ethiopia. We talked about my son’s health and he gave me two moringa seeds and educated me on the benefits. I ate one and planted the other. From that point on, we have incorporated moringa into all of our meals. Whether it be oatmeal in the morning or a mid-day shake, we utilize moringa as a staple food. It not only contains iron rich properties that help fight anemia associated with sickle cell, but it’s also packed with isothiocyanate which may have an anti-sickling effect on the blood.

Our son is seven now and hasn’t been hospitalized because of Sickle Cell Anemia in over four years. We owe this to our diet change and our daily dose of moringa. Give Thanks!

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