Samaria, nicknamed Sam, has endured Sickle Cell Anemia since she was born on February 13, 2001. This disease results in episodes known as “sickle cell crises” in which Sam can experience bouts of pain, ranging from minor to severe, in certain areas of her body. She recalls a time she was admitted to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger for extreme pain in both her arms and legs and was assigned physical therapy treatment to help her heal, exercises that seemed simple but were quite difficult for her at the time.

Sam is also a role model for her younger sister who also has Sickle Cell Anemia, often receiving her treatments first so that her sister can more easily deal with the necessary pains that come with this blood disorder. She praises Children’s Hospital at Erlanger and says she can’t imagine ever being a patient anywhere else! Especially her favorite nurse, who has taken the time to get to know Sam beyond her medical chart and lifts her spirits every time she comes in. As a teen living with Sickle Cell, she does not let her disease define her and has travelled overseas, played sports, and more!