Forging Her Own Path

Seventeen-year-old Naomi is determined not to let her disease determine her destiny. Instead, she uses her passion to pursue the things she enjoys: dancing and sewing, Girl Scouts and participating in a Youth Council at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Naomi standing near a tree smilingIn May, Naomi is taking on a new role: team captain of the Bethel Five, a team participating in the Daisy Days 31-Day Challenge. She and her teammates will walk regularly throughout the month and raise funds to support sickle cell research and care at CHOP.

Naomi recently answered a few questions about her experience with CHOP and why she’s participating in the 31-Day Challenge.

Question: What is your experience with CHOP?
Answer: I was born with sickle cell disease and have been coming to CHOP for 17 years. Throughout that time, I’ve been admitted to the hospital multiple times due to issues related to my disease. I continue to be under the care of the Division of Hematology.

Question: What do you appreciate most about your relationship with CHOP?
Answer: Since I can remember, the entire CHOP team has treated me with compassion, love and support. There has never been a time during my hospital stays that the staff didn’t make me feel comfortable and that my health was their number one priority.

Renee Cecil [MSN, RN] has been the sickle cell nurse specialist since I began my treatment. She is truly a special person and has helped me and my family immensely throughout the years.

My social worker, Charles Adams [MSW], has always been my champion, including me in activity occurring inside the sickle cell community.

Finally, what can I say about Dr. [Kim] Smith-Whitely [MD]. She has been absolutely amazing. She has held my hand since I could remember, always encouraging me and ensuring I am getting the best treatment. Her infectious smile and upbeat attitude has been the reason I will be entering nursing school in the fall so I can serve as she does on a daily basis.

I am not sure what my future will be like, but I remain confident that CHOP has provided me the greatest foundation possible to deal with any health issues I will encounter and for that I will be forever grateful.

Question: What motivates you to participate in the 31-Day Challenge?
Answer: To give back the CHOP and show my support for those who have supported me throughout the years.