Shaunise Robinson is a mother, a third-grade teacher and a doctoral student at Texas A&M. Her entire life is centered on education. However, a rare diagnosis taught her a powerful lesson and she’s paying it forward as an advocate for bone marrow donation. Shaunise shared her life-saving story in her own words with BlackDoctor.org.
In 2016, I went to my doctor for a routine check-up, and my labs revealed that my blood counts were severely low. I went straight to the ER, where a team of doctors worked to determine the cause of my blood counts – and how on earth I’d been functioning normally at all.
The diagnosis? Severe aplastic anemia. I’d never even heard of it. Basically, it means my bone marrow is empty. Bone marrow should have white blood cells, which fight infection and keep you from getting sick; red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the body; and platelets, which clot blood and help you stop bleeding. With aplastic anemia, I had little or none of any of these.
It’s a rare disease. My best chance for a cure rested in finding a bone marrow donor, and I’m grateful to say that I recently received a transplant! But, for many patients, finding a match is not easy.