Mother of girl gripped by sickle cell anaemia is keen to raise awareness of the condition

Sutton Guardian: Raising awareness: 11-year-old Chicho Haji Raising awareness: 11-year-old Chicho Haji

A mother whose daughter was born with sickle cell anaemia is keen to raise awareness of the condition.

Zaina Haji, who lives with her daughter in Sutton feels people do not know enough about the illness.

Her 11-year-old daughter Chicho Haji was born with the condition, and has spent much of her life in and out of hospital.

Sickle cell anaemia is a genetic blood disorder whereby red blood cells fail to develop properly.

Instead of growing into a circular shape, the cells develop into crescents which can clog blood vessels and cause severe pain.

Ms Haji said: "We have really had to battle this condition over the last 11 years.

"My daughter is so badly affected she can not walk properly.

"This week she had swollen knees, it can affect her in a variety of ways.

"We are in hospital every three to four weeks, and it is dreadful seeing my daughter in so much pain.

"It is tough when someone you care about is suffering so badly, sometimes I break down."

Ms Haji's drive to raise awareness has been inspired by Sickle Cell Anaemia Awareness Day which was on Thursday June 19.

On the day Chicho was in hospital experiencing 'crisis'- whereby the effects from the illness become so severe she is hospitalised.

Her knees had swollen up, and the doctors had to give her morhpine to cope with the pain.

Ms Haji said: "We need to raise awareness in our communities, because many people are not even aware the condition exists.

"If more people know about it, more will be done to provide better services to tackle it."

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