Making Sickle Cell Disease a Manageable Illness

By CAROLYN SAYRE
On most days Giovanna Poli acts like a typical 12-year-old. She enjoys riding bikes with her brother, likes learning about the planets in science class and wants to be a pediatrician when she grows up.
But Giovanna, a brown-haired girl from West Palm Beach, Fla., also suffers from debilitating pain, recurring infections and organ damage. She was born with sickle cell disease, a genetic disorder with unpredictable complications that causes the red blood cells to assume an abnormal sickle shape, making it difficult for blood to flow through vessels and deliver oxygen throughout the body.
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