Her story: Jennifer Nsenkyire, who is originally from Ghana, came to the United States in 1995 seeking a better life for herself and her family. She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. She now holds a full-time accounting job in a private firm. In her spare time, she enjoys walking several miles a day.
Unimaginable hurdle: Nsenkyire has suffered from the complications of SCD for as long as she can remember. As a teenager, she experienced excruciating pain for days at a time and had to be hospitalized at least once a month due to her condition.
How she survived: In 2009, Nsenkyire underwent a type of experimental bone marrow transplant procedure called haplo-transplantation, also known as a half-match transplant. In a half-match, only about half of the donor HLA antigens (a type of protein) match those of the recipient. Nsenkyire’s donor was her own mother. The procedure worked: Her bone marrow began producing healthy cells rather than sickled cells.
Her feelings after treatment: “I’m so grateful for the team at NIH … they were literally a lifesaver. I had lived in the shadow of this disease all my life, and now life is different. I feel like there’s nothing stopping me from doing whatever I want to achieve in life. The sky’s the limit.”