RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Just a week after LaToya and Brett Cypress’ twin boys were born, they got a call from the doctor telling them there was an abnormality in their newborns’ blood tests.
“They both had sickle cell, which was a shock,” LaToya Cypress said. “We weren’t expecting that at all.”
Now, at the age of six, Noah and Gabriel Cypress have undergone more than 20 blood transfusions. LaToya Cypress said it’s one of the most effective treatments the boys have until researchers find a cure.
“It’s devastating,” L. Cypress said. “Your child, your family, who is typically so bubbly and joyous all the time and just loves to play and smiling, now in the position of pain and there’s nothing you can do. The doctors are doing everything they can.”
She said her side of the family carries the trait and she’s watched her brother battle sickle cell disease all of his life.
“He, of course, has had challenges as well,” Cypress said. “I’ve always known what sickle cell was. I always have been informed of the risks with me having the trait as far as if I were to marry and have children with someone else who has the trait.”
Together the family works to spread awareness about the disease and the importance of blood donations, a resource thousands of sickle cell patients often depend on as a form of treatment.
Cypress said the Sickle Cell Association of Richmond-OSCAR works diligently to advance research and give families the support they need, but it’s the stories of other ‘Sickle Cell Warriors’ that give families the hope to push forward.
“A strong word that I often see with those who have sickle cell and I strongly believe it firmly is, that their warriors,” Cypress said. “The level of pain that they endure is so great and debilitating that you try to be strong when you’re going through that.”
The Sickle Cell Association of Richmond-OSCAR is hosting a unity ride Saturday, May 7. For more information, click here.