Tevin Coleman – a running back for the San Francisco 49ers – and his wife Akilah Coleman share their experiences raising a child with sickle cell disease.
Tevin & Akilah’s daughter Nazaneen diagnosed as an infant: ‘I knew something was wrong’
During a sitting with Peoplethe couple reflected on welcoming their twins, Nazaneen and Nezerah, in 2017.
However, they knew “rather immediately” that “something was up.” When she was four months old, Nazaneen was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.
“I knew something was up. My son they knew he didn’t have it but pretty much straight away we had to go back with my daughter and do a few different tests because they knew something was up. It was confirmed after about four months.”
What exactly is sickle cell anemia?
For context, the condition described “a group of inherited red blood cell disorders” that causes the cells to be sickle-shaped as opposed to their usual, disc-shaped appearance. According to Centers for Disease Control and Preventionthe crescent-shaped red blood cells can lead to a variety of problems in the body.
“The sickle cells die early, resulting in a constant shortage of red blood cells. Even when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and block blood flow. This can lead to pain and other serious complications (health problems) such as infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.”
There are several types of the disease, with the “most severe form” of the genetic condition being commonly referred to as sickle cell anemia.
Increased awareness of sickle cells will help drive funding for research, treatment and care. Spread the word on social media and let your friends and family know. For more information visit our website link in bio #sickle celluk #Sickle cell #awareness #Picture of the Day pic.twitter.com/hJenqkfdKj
— Sickle Cell Society (@SickleCellUK) January 10, 2023
The Colemans want to ‘talk about it and just raise awareness’
Tevin and Akilah found that while they were aware they were carriers of the sickle cell gene, they were not fully aware of how the disease would affect their family.
They also noted that while teaching Nazaneen to be open about how she feels, they want to focus on furthering education about sickle cell disease as their daughter becomes more aware of her condition.
“She’s only 5 so we haven’t gotten to the point where I’ve actually explained to her what her body is going through, but I’ve let her know that it’s just really important to always tell mom — whatever whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re going through, tell mom. Let us talk about it. Don’t be afraid to tell me if you’re in pain so I can help.”
Tevin added, “Now that she’s getting older and she’s learning and understanding that she has sickle cell disease, I wanted to talk about it and just raise awareness.”
How the Nazaneen family is elevating through some of the challenges of the disease
Additionally, the Colemans addressed some of the different ways they’ve had to adapt for the good of their daughter.
For one, they don’t allow her to go outside when it’s too cold, since it’s important for people with sickle cell anemia to stay warm.
“My daughter doesn’t go to school when it’s below 50 degrees. I really need to keep her warm and when she comes home from school I need to check her fingers and toes. I have to ask her if she’s in pain or if anything hurts or if she’s in pain. And she was actually in pain, she had some pain in her legs and feet.”
Cold increases the likelihood of a sickle cell crisis, so it’s important to stay warm as much as possible. With the weather falling to -10 degrees across the UK our community needs to stay warm during these challenging times. #Sickle #sickle cell society #nhs #cold #Weather #5ways pic.twitter.com/n9AuPQqDpT
— Sickle Cell Society (@SickleCellUK) January 23, 2023
However, they will surely try to make it funny by “dressing up a lot of what [they] do for them as self-care.”
“I just say, ‘Okay, let’s have a spa day.’ I’m going to massage her legs and do a mani pedi, rub her feet and get some of her circulation going because the one thing I don’t want to do is scare her too much.”
Akilah added, “I want her to be able to see what she’s feeling, but I also want to protect her … I want her to be able to express her feelings without being afraid.”
As for Tevin, he notes that a big part of her journey is rooted in keeping the positivity going.
“Every time my daughter has a crisis or is hospitalized afterwards, we try to cheer her up and keep positive vibes. We do it by throwing a party for her when she comes back, giving her a cake, giving her toys just to make her smile.”
Call out to the Coleman family as they continue to navigate these waters and spread awareness about their daughter’s condition.
https://theshaderoom.com/nfl-tevin-coleman-daughter-sickle-cell-diagnosis/ Tevin Coleman opens up about his daughter’s sickle cell diagnosis