Her story: Afia Donkor, who is originally from Canada, came to the United States in 2010 for a bone marrow transplant designed to reverse her SCD. The transplant worked, and she has been free of pain ever since. Donkor now works as a lawyer and a volunteer for a faith-based charity in Ontario. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, music, and writing.
Unimaginable hurdle: In 2010, she could barely walk at one point due to severe exhaustion brought on by SCD.
How she survived: In 2010, Donkor received a bone marrow transplant at the National Institutes of Health. For the transplant, doctors at NIH removed her bone marrow and replaced it with specially-treated bone marrow obtained from her brother, a healthy, compatible donor who does not have SCD.
Her feelings after treatment: After the transplant, she has remained free of pain. “I never like to say ‘cured,’ but it feels like a cure. It’s amazing. I feel great. As far as I’m concerned, my sickle cell disease is gone,” Donkor said. She notes that she can now jog, something she could hardly dream of before the transplant.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We are sad to report that Afia Donkor passed away from natural causes on November 11, 2017. At the time of her death, she was living in France where she had gone to teach English.