Mother Shares Videos to Show the Ugly Truth About Sickle Cell

It’s hard to watch any child to go through pain, and when it’s your child in pain, that feeling of helplessness is even more painful.

Imagine how Lakiesha Strayhorn feels as she has to witness her her 10-year-old son, King Strayhorn, suffer from pain on a daily basis.

In order to raise awareness about sickle cell disease, Lakiesha is documenting her son’s battle with the disease by occasionally sharing videos on social media. She describes the pain that sickle cell causes as feeling like shards of broken glass passing through the bloodstream.

“At the same time that King is in pain, he also consoles me. He’s wondering how I’m feeling and he tells me, ‘I’m sorry. How can a child say I’m sorry? I don’t want to be sick. Are you mad at me?’ And I tell him no,” says Lakiesha in an interview with Local 12 News Cincinnati.

(Photo Credit: Local 12 / video screenshot)

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, if a person has sickle cell disease, it is present at birth. Most infants do not have any problems until they are about 5 or 6 months of age.

Because of his disease, King can suffer from seizures, stroke or even a heart attack. Some children with shows signs of SCD early on with symptoms including:

  • Painful swelling of the hands and feet.
  • Fatigue of fussiness of anemia
  • A yellowish color of the skin, known as jaundice or whites of the eyes, known as icteris, that occurs when a large number of red cells hemolyze.

Pain can strike almost anywhere in the body and in more than one spot at a time. Pain often occurs in the lower back, legs, arms, abdomen and chest.

“Sickle cell is not pretty by any means. It’s very ugly, but we have to know the truth and if it’s the ugly truth about it, then that’s what it is.”

King is on morphine and other medications to control his pain. His mother says he is feeling but, he’s still at the hospital. King’s family has started an organization for sickle cell awareness called the King Titus Foundation.