Sickle cell patient finds purpose in pain, and credits faith and transfusions for recovery

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Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 3:43 PM EDT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The CDC reports that 1 in every 13 black or African American babies - is born with markers for sickle cell disease.

And for those battling sickle cell… a simple blood donation from a perfect stranger, can mean the difference between pain & healing.

Timothy Griffin’s battle with sickle cell began in early childhood, but it never caused him problems growing up.

“All throughout elementary school, middle school, high school… I never experienced a pain crisis a day in my life.” Griffin explains.

But all of that changed on a fateful day in 2015, when the pain that comes with the blood disorder emerged with fury.

“I start feeling some unusual pain in my body. Unbearable pain at that, something I’ve never felt before. And it actually hospitalized me.”

Griffin says he believes the pain was God’s way- of sending him a message. Up to that point, he had resisted going into the ministry.

“It was a Jonah like moment. I felt like I was in the belly of the whale. Because I was in and out of the hospital for three months. And in those three months- I had to have blood transfusions.”

The pain was unbearable at times.

“I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.” Griffin confessed.

But the transfusions made all the difference. With several treatments, his condition improved.

A key reason why the American Red Cross is asking for blood donors from diverse backgrounds.

“Donors who are black or African American have unique markers on their blood - that are a closer match for patients battling sickle cell.” says Mandy McWherter, the Regional Communications Director of the American Red Cross of South Carolina.

She says it’s key that people understand that donating blood can save a life.

“Here in the US - someone needs blood every 2 seconds. The need is constant.”

Griffin agrees, saying “The blood that people give here at the American Red Cross, helps children like myself and others that struggle on a day-to-day basis.”

Griffin recovered in 2015… and thrives now as a minister, author, speaker, and motivator, managing his illness with God’s help.

With helping hands, generous blood donors, good support system, and a higher perspective.

Griffin says his pain helped him find his purpose.

“It’s definitely life threatening- but I definitely have a testimony out of it.”

WIS is teaming up with the American Red Cross… to host a blood drive on August 4th. You can make a blood donation at any of the locations listed here.

Donors will get a T-shirt and a 10-dollar gift card.

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