MOORE, Okla. (KFOR) – 4-year-old Trinity Watkins is a busy bee with a style all her own.
“She is… Whew… One of the biggest divas I know and she is only four. Her whole life is pink and purple and glitter and sprinkles,” mom, Jalisa said.
Trinity is Jalisa and Terrence’s third child, and newborn screening revealed heart-breaking news: sickle cell anemia, a genetic trait both parents carry.
“Really blaming myself, like, not that I could change anything, but started looking at family history and wondering why– why her?” Terrence said.
Sickle cell is a disorder where the body creates misshaped red blood cells that can clog in blood vessels– restricting oxygen and creating pain.
The experience is frightening for her parents.
“She was just up– about two in the morning, crying, saying she was in pain, screaming so we run into the bedroom to see what’s going on,” Terrence recalled.
For the Watkins, the Jimmy Everest Cancer Center has been a constant– a lifeline of healing and hope.
“Trinity has been started on a disease-modifying therapy…” Dr. Arpan Sinha explained.
Dr. Sinha says small doses of chemo-therapy, supplements, and blood transfusions all manage Trinity’s condition.
She visits Jimmy Everest often for blood monitoring. Just a simple fever requires a trip to the ER.
“Just having that consistency of seeing the same people who care, genuinely care for the child– versus ‘you’re just here for a doctor’s appointment…’ OU is almost like a family for her,” Jalisa said.
“That gives me immense pleasure, it’s why I like what I do, children and adults with sickle cell disease are living with a life-long condition, but we try to make their lives as normal as possible,” Dr. Sinha said.
Trinity’s biggest hope is a cure in the form of a stem cell transplant.
Her brothers are being tested as possible matches.
“It seems so close– you can almost feel it,” Jalisa said.
Until then, Trinity is busy growing up, a bright light in a close family that treasures each day together.
Kids with Courage is sponsored by The Jimmy Everest Cancer Center, consider donating to JECFriends.org.