The Sickle-Cell Kid

An experimental transplant succeeds, giving a brave little boy the best Christmas present he can imagine

The odds were against little Keone Penn from the start. Born with the most severe form of sickle-cell anemia, a hereditary blood disorder that afflicts more than 70,000 Americans, most of them of African descent, he experienced repeated episodes of racking pain and high fever as brittle, sickle-shaped red blood cells clogged his vessels. At age 5, he was temporarily paralyzed by a stroke. Since then he has bravely endured blood transfusions as often as every two weeks via a catheter attached to his chest. Still the threat of devastating pain and life-threatening infections continued to shadow him. Anything like a...

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