Bright Spots: 22-Year-Old First in Alabama Cured of Sickle Cell Disease
As of this summer, 22-year-old JonTavius Lake is living free of Sickle Cell Disease. He’s the first person in Alabama to be cured of the disease through a clinical trial of haploidentical half-matched bone marrow transplants.
“My life before the cure was painful,” JonTavius told WVUA 23 Reporter Chelsea Barton. “Sickle Cell Disease is a blood disease, so you can pretty much hurt wherever blood flows.”
“Life today is much more enjoyable,” JonTavius said. “I can definitely feel the difference in having Sickle Cell Disease and not having it. I would usually be getting sick this time of year with the weather change, but now I feel great. Better than ever.”
For anyone needing a transplant, the hardest part can be finding a match. JonTavious found one in the man who gave him life, his father John Lake.
“It was wonderful,” John Lake said. “I didn’t hesitate. It was painful, but the pain was worth it. I am so happy he doesn’t have to be in the hospital anymore and can live the life of a normal man.”
JonTavious is using his story and his talents to create a documentary of his transplant experience. He hopes it will help others fighting the same battle he’s won so far.
“I made it to tell people the good things about the cure and the bad things, so they can decide if it’s something they might want to do,” JonTavius said. “The documentary is also to let people know how easy it is to join the donor registry.”
JonTavius said signing up to save someone’s life is easy.
“You just go to bethechange.org and sign up. All you have to do is a mouth swab. It doesn’t hurt or anything. You never know whose life you could be changing just like that.”
JonTavius said he’s planning on releasing his documentary on his Youtube channel “Power Up Vizuals” on his 23rd birthday, Oct. 14.
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