Deja, 10, was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at birth due to both parents having the sickle cell trait. Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that disrupt the flow of healthy, oxygen-carrying blood through the vessels.
Throughout all her life, Deja has been receiving treatment for her condition. She currently visits Nicklaus Children's every few months, where she is admitted for a few days for pain management, and to help prevent further complications.
Though normally a bright and happy child, being quarantined in the house during the pandemic has caused many emotional struggles including depression and thoughts of suicide.
Thanks to the multidisciplinary team approach at Nicklaus Children's, Deja was screened by a pediatric psychologist and has been checking in with them ever since.
“Deja has a therapist, but she never opened up to her. The child psychologist at Nicklaus Children's was able to connect with her on another level and get her to open up," said Diana, Deja's mom.
Since Deja began seeing the pediatric psychology team at Nicklaus Children's, her grades have improved and she is even interacting more with her friends and peers. She is excited for the future and plans to return to swimming and working on her art soon with dreams of becoming an artist or an animator!