By Rob Stein
When Victoria Gray was just 3 months old, her family discovered something was terribly wrong.
“My grandma was giving me a bath, and I was crying. So they took me to the emergency room to get me checked out,” Gray says. “That’s when they found out that I was having my first crisis.”
It was Gray’s first sickle cell crisis. These episodes are one of the worst things about sickle cell disease, a common and often devastating genetic blood disorder. People with the condition regularly suffer sudden, excruciating bouts of pain.
“Sometimes it feels like lightning strikes in my chest — and real sharp pains all over. And it’s a deep pain. I can’t touch it and make it better,” says Gray. “Sometimes, I will be just balled up and crying, not able to do anything for myself.
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