Ayo Otaigbe is a founding member of the board, Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria.
She was a Principal Nursing Manager at the Nigerian Ports Authority and is the President of the Sickle Cell Clubs of Lagos.
Most people produce fetal hemoglobin until they are around six months old when they begin producing adult hemoglobin.
Fetal hemoglobin protects the blood cells from sickling, or turning into the crescent-moon shape that causes them to get stuck in blood vessels.
“We have had several conversations with her about monitoring when her body is tired,” Fred told me.
Yvette recalled that before Ary was born she was told that she carried the trait for a beta thalassemia. Ary also had her hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen, working in her favor.
And I don’t regret having Ary.” Fred has a special relationship with all three of his daughters.
Despite challenges that many parents face with their children as they grow up, Fred makes sure that they know that he’s there for them.
He knew that he needed to be particularly concerned about head injuries with a child who has sickle cell – yet Ary was a rambunctious kid who seemed to accidentally bang her head often.
“As a father you want to protect your children, but you can’t keep them from doing things.” It is hard to say what might have happened without the early diagnosis that followed the positive newborn screening.