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She continues to see her team at CHOP regularly for check-ups.
“We’re able to breathe a little more and give her more space and allow her to grow and be who she can be.
So we started making calls, to be prepared to receive that child.” When their baby was born, the Bethels knew where they would take her for care: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
The Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at CHOP, with more than 900 patients, is one of the largest such programs in the country.
Just 30 years ago, children with sickle cell disease often died at a very young age.
Advances in treatment have improved quality of life and expected life span.
And she is already focused on a career: becoming a nurse to help children.
She's also begun taking hydroxyurea, which has improved her energy.
At the first sign of fever, the child must come to the hospital immediately for IV antibiotics.
The Bethels kept Naomi away from pools and playgrounds.
“I just love them.” “Our goal is to get them back to that safe place, that happy place, where they can accomplish all the things that they want to accomplish,” Smith-Whitley says. These children are bright lights and they are wonderful in their potential.” Naomi is a very bright light.
Because of her devoted family and expert healthcare team, and her own formidable strength, she is thriving. “She has an internal strength that I want to be a part of and anyone who meets her wants to be a part of.” Naomi has many friends and excels in academics, rarely missing school.
The disease does not define her — she defines herself.” “I want people to know that I love sports,” Naomi says. I love doing dance and pointé and sometimes it hurts my toes, but I still get through it.