In a life with the pain and complications of Sickle Cell, Bounce provides Jahrel and his family an outlet to find joy in.
Jahrel, 12-years-old, has never had the luxury of a typical childhood. Born with sickle cell disease, there is no such thing as an “average” day in his household. He and his family are ruled by the disease and the complications that come with it.
Sickle cell causes episodes of pain called crises, which often occur without warning, and are triggered by changes in temperature, weather, stress, illness or dehydration. Jahrel’s disease has created a reality in which everything he and his family does is dictated by their environment.
“I can’t really do stuff that my siblings do,” Jahrel said. “I can’t ever be in the cold or heat for too long. I’ve had to go to the hospital a lot. Sometimes it’s painful and sometimes it’s sad. It makes me feel bad when I have to be in the hospital for a long time and my mom and dad have to stay and take care of me.”
While Jahrel has a tough time leading a normal childhood, he and his family find great comfort in Bounce. “I’ve met kids who have the same problem as I do,” Jahrel said. “We all get along really well. It helps to know other kids who are also sick.”
According to Tenille, Jahrel’s mom, Bounce makes all the difference to Jahrel – and to whole family. “It gives us all comfort, safety, and the chance to simply live without always thinking about illness,” she said. “We can be together as a family and not worry about medicine or bills or if Jahrel is going to be sick. We can enjoy each other and the other families we have met through Bounce. It gives the kids opportunities to be themselves. It’s just such a joyful feeling. We love it.”