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Last Updated: Thursday July 02 2009 05:21 GMT

Living with sickle cell

Press Packer Karl

Why doctors want more help for kids with sickle cell

Sickle cell is a blood disorder which can leave those who have it exhausted, weak or even in pain.

Press Packer Karl has the condition and in his report tells us how it affects his life.

"I have a medical condition called Sickle Cell which I was born with.

Sickle Cell means there is something wrong with my blood system; I inherited this from my parents.

With Sickle Cell, I am likely to get infectious diseases easily because my immune system is low, so I have to take antibiotics every day to help it.

I get tired quickly and have to be careful playing, taking part in sports and even going swimming.

If I do too much of these things I get really tired and sometimes have a lot of pain. I then have to take painkillers to help stop the pain.

No warning

I have to drink at least three litres of fluids every day - mainly water. I even drink during the night if I wake up to stop me becoming dehydrated.

If I become dehydrated and unwell I have to be admitted into hospital to have medical attention, which is usually putting fluids in my body to help me get better, and lots of painkillers.

With sickle cell, I can be unwell at anytime without warning. Some mornings I wake up in pain and am unable to walk. My legs hurt me a lot.

I have to have help from my mum and dad and in my house we have had a chairlift to help me get up and downstairs when I have a really bad day.

Different symptoms

My brother Ellis is 13 and he has sickle cell too. We get on well some of the time and sometimes we don't.

We both experience our illness in different ways and at times we support each other by talking about how we feel.

I enjoy playing football and would like to play for a team. I may get the chance when I start high school in September.

I support Manchester United, Barcelona and Brazil. They are great teams."

Karl, 11, UK

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