“At War with Sickle Cell” with Carina Taylor

Wise and Carina Taylor

Amanda Stubbert: Welcome to the SPU Voices Podcast, where we tell personal stories with universal impact. I’m your host, Amanda Stubbert. And today we sat down with Carina Taylor. After graduating from SPU with a degree in individual and family development, she experienced a series of tragedies, leaving her in a new city, with a new trajectory, but filled with hope for the future.

When she and her husband were expecting their first child, they discovered that they both carried the gene for sickle cell anemia. Meaning that starting their family would now be a game of Russian roulette. The journey that followed is a story of faith and triumph. Carina, thank you so much for joining us today.

Carina Taylor: Yeah. Thank you for having me. Glad to be here.

Amanda: Let’s start with the day that you and your husband first learned you both carried this gene, because I know I learned about sickle cell anemia just briefly in probably late elementary school, maybe early middle school, but I never really got into it or understood what that was all about. Tell me about that news and how that affected you two.

Carina: Yeah. For sure. Much like you, I had heard of sickle cell disease when I was younger, but didn’t know a whole lot about it. Didn’t even know that I carried the trait for it until I was six months’ pregnant with Londyn, my husband’s and my first child. When we went into a checkup, when we were six months’ pregnant, and they told me that I carried the trait and they said, “It’s not really a big deal, unless your husband carries the trait as well.” So then we got him tested and found out that he did carry the trait. And so that’s when panic sets in a little bit . Where you were like, “OK. So what does this mean?”

So then the doctor told us that it means we have a 25% chance of having a child that is born with sickle cell disease. Again, at that time we were pregnant with Londyn. She’s our firstborn. She’s 5 years old right now. So this was four and a half years ago. Honestly, my husband and I, we just prayed that Londyn would not be born with sickle cell disease. We prayed that we would be on the 75% of things where she just wouldn’t be born with it.

And we didn’t do a whole lot of research into what sickle cell disease was. We just remember hearing about it. We remember hearing things when we were younger, that it can be stereotyped as the black disease. That it’s just devastating. It’s something you know you don’t want. We prayed that our daughter would not be born with it. That she’d be born healthy, and she was. Praise God. So that’s the really sped-up version of that day, just learning that we carried that trait. We both carry it. There’s a chance she could be born unhealthy. And praying that that wouldn’t be our situation.

Amanda: Right. Right. I mean, I have to ask, did you consider then stopping at one child? Like, “We beat the odds. We did the 75%.”

Carina: That is a great question. No, because I have never, ever only wanted one child. Since I was a young girl, I remember thinking, “Oh, I want to get married one day, and have a boy and have a girl with my husband.” I’ve always wanted one boy and one girl. Even more than what I wanted, I’ve always thought that I never wanted a child to be an only sibling, which I know there are pros and cons to everything. I have friends that don’t have any siblings, and they’re doing just fine in life.

“I’ve always wanted my child to have another sibling close in age that they can grow up together, because that’s how I grew up.”

I just know that I’ve always wanted my child to have another sibling close in age that they can grow up together, because that’s how I grew up. I have a brother who is a year and 10 months older than me. He’s like my best friend. I’ve always wanted that. I relied heavily on faith that we would have another child that wouldn’t have sickle cell disease, and that they would be as close as ever, just like me and my brother.

And my husband was on board with that, too. He grew up in an even bigger family, and we never wanted just one child. We wanted at least two, maybe more. In our minds, we thought, “God can do anything. We’re not going to let this stop our dreams of having a bigger family.” Now, granted, we have two children right now, and it does halt things. We do consider it more now, as far as not having more children, but we definitely were going to at least try to have two that can have each other to grow up together. Do life together.

Amanda: I feel that’s really normal. That you enter into adulthood with an idea. It doesn’t mean that’s what’s going to happen for you, but you enter with this idea, I’m going to have a big family. I’m going to have one child. I’m not going to have any. We just have this innate sense. I know my husband and I both wanted, just innately before we even met to each other, we wanted a girl for some reason. And so when our firstborn was a girl, it was like, the second one could be a girl or a boy, but just somehow inside, we had a girl and we ended up with two girls. Yeah, I feel like that’s a very normal human experience to just have that knowing.

Carina: Yeah.

Amanda: So at this point, did you dig in and learn anymore about sickle cell?

Carina: We didn’t until our son was born with sickle cell disease. When you say at this point, I guess it depends on when. So when we had Londyn, and she did not have sickle cell disease, we praised God and we just went about our way. And then decided to try again and have another child without sickle cell disease. Hoping we’d still be on that 75% end where the child doesn’t have it. But we were on the 25% side this time, where our son was born with sickle cell disease.

And it was at that point that we did say, “OK, now, I mean, we’re clearly, this is part of our journey. We are in this. We have to research now. We have to know what we’re up against.” And I think part of the reason why we didn’t beforehand is, honestly, maybe a little bit of fear, but also a lot of just, we know we carry the trait. We knew it wasn’t good. We know there are millions and millions of different things that can happen in life, especially when you have a child. There are many diseases out there. Many different things going on.

“We were on the 25% side this time, where our son was born with sickle cell disease.”

Part of when I say fear is that I didn’t want to find out a whole lot about sickle cell disease, and completely change my mind and not rely on faith, and instead decide that we’re not having any more children. I didn’t want that to really be an option. I don’t know, I wrestled with it. I started to learn more about it as soon as I found out that we carried the trait when we were pregnant with Londyn, but then I didn’t, and then life just got busy, and we knew we wanted a second child. I just remember hearing about sickle cell disease and how bad it was.

I also had a little tiny bit of knowledge that there’s a cure out there. I remember hearing that there is a cure. So just these little things in the back of my mind let me think a little bit about, OK, well, we’ll have another child. If we have that 25% chance and that child does have sickle cell disease, well, there’s a cure. They say there’s a cure.

These little bits of information was enough for me to say, “I’m OK with not learning a ton about it right now. And I pray that this second child does not have sickle cell disease.” But when he did, I mean, yeah, we learned … I mean, I could be a hematologist right now, a bone marrow transplant doctor. I say that lightly. They’re amazing at what they do, but I’m just saying that to say, I know a ton about it now.

Amanda: Right. Right. And I understand that self-preservation of, if I learn too much, the fear might be too great. I can absolutely understand being that frame of mind. I’m sorry to ask you this, because I know you’ve referred to it as the worst day of your life, but can you take us through the day that you learned that Wise, your son, was positive?

Carina: Yeah. No, I’m glad you asked, because I like talking about it. Yeah, I do think it’s the worst day of my life. And then the second worst day of my life that I’ll never forget is when my mom passed away when I was in college. That was devastating. There’s something about when you find out your child is not healthy. You expect to lose your parents one day. I mean, I was 17 when my mom died, so that’s absolutely devastating. I didn’t expect to lose her at that time, but God brought me through it, and here I am. That was years ago and I’m doing just fine. I have my family and I miss her, but life goes on.

But when you are sitting in the doctor’s office with your 7-day-old, and they tell you that he’s not healthy, there’s just something about … I mean, it was just unbelievable. Even though I knew that there was a chance he could have sickle cell disease, I guess it’s just one of those things where you’re like, “No, he won’t have it.” And then when you hear that he does have it, it’s just … I mean, the whole world stopped. Like I said, I think he was about 7 days old, something like that, 7, 8 days old.

And it was a checkup, the normal checkup when the doctor sees the newborn baby days later. I didn’t expect them to have the results of the sickle cell screening just yet. So I went there with our 2 1/2-year-old Londyn, and 7-day-old Wise, just thinking it was going to be a regular checkup. My husband was at work. If I had known they were giving the results that day, I would’ve brought my husband with me. I would’ve had somebody watch Londyn, babysit Londyn, just so that we were a little more prepared to hear bad news if that’s what it was going to be. But I just was completely caught off guard.

I remember the doctor telling me that he did have sickle cell disease. And I remember the look on her face when … I mean, my heart just stopped. I mean, it was equivalent to somebody telling a parent your child has cancer or your child was born without a lung. I mean, just, I don’t know. You never want to hear anything bad. And I had heard enough about sickle cell disease to know that it is very bad. Like very, very bad. And I don’t ever want to offend anyone by comparing it to cancer, because I’ve never experienced having a child with cancer. So maybe that’s not the most appropriate thing.

I just think of cancer sometimes because it is a blood disease. It required a bone marrow transplant to cure it. Just like leukemia can require a bone marrow transplant to cure it. And the blood disease centers and cancer centers are all linked in one. Every time you go to a doctor’s appointment over the past three years, they’ve been on cancer units. Things like that. Those are terrible things. You never want to hear that anything is wrong with your child, let alone something so devastating as a blood disease where his blood is not circulating correctly, and he needs to start medicine immediately to help prevent a stroke. All these things that they’re telling me. And it’s just like the world is spinning. Like, wait a minute, stop. Something’s not right.

“You never want to hear that anything is wrong with your child.”

Amanda: Well, the amount of pressure on every parent when you first take a newborn home, the pressure is intense. This little tiny life is in your hands. And then you’re being told that that life is in jeopardy. It’s overwhelming. It’s absolutely overwhelming.

Carina: Yeah. It was unbelievable. The world stopped. Sometimes doctors can get so used to giving news that they forget that the world stops when parents hear this. And I just remember the doctor trying to continue on with his 7-day-old wellness checkup, and I’m in tears. I had to tell her, “I’m sorry, I don’t care about what he weighs. I don’t care about anything that you normally do on a 7-day checkup. You just told me the worst news of my life, and I need to call my husband.”

And so I did right then and there, right in front of her, I just gave him a call. It was just a really bad day. And my husband left work early and met me at our house and the whole ride home, my 2 1/2-year-old is asking me if I’m OK. “Mommy, why are you crying?” It was impossible to stop crying. Because I remember trying to, thinking, well I don’t want her to think something’s wrong with mommy. She was just so young, she had never seen me cry before, but that day was impossible to stop crying.

Driving my 7-day-old home with my 2 1/2-year-old in the backseat, and just wondering what life is going to look like now. And wondering like, OK, I really need to look into this cure. How to cure sickle cell disease. The whole ride home, wondering about that. OK. I think there’s a cure. What if there’s not a cure? I think I remember hearing that they’re able to cure sickle cell disease now, but what if that was wrong?

I mean, all these things going through my head, it was just unbelievable. And like, “OK, if there is a cure, does that mean like, OK, he’ll get cured, but is he going to have something else from the side effects for the rest of his life to be cured?” My mind is just spinning in the back of my … And I’m looking at him. Like I even looked at him differently. Like, he’s not healthy. He looks healthy. What’s going on? His blood does not flow correctly. It was truly an unbelievable day. It was a horrible day. Hard to sleep that night. You just wondering what the future looks like.

Amanda: Yeah. Those moments in time where you realize my life will never be the same, whatever happens, triumph or tragedy, my life will never be the same. So you and your family enter this time of research and testing and waiting and worrying. As you’re going through all of that, how did you stay strong? How did you lean on your faith during those times that are honestly impossible as a human being to stay strong?

Carina: I don’t know. My husband is my rock, honestly. He taught me how to pray. I’ve always believed in God since I was a little girl. But my husband, when I met him 12 years ago, and then we started dating 10 years ago, he just taught me that, number one, it’s important to read your Bible. It sounds silly, but faith comes by hearing. And you have to read the Word to know that God will get you through anything. I get really emotional thinking about it because it’s just amazing what he’s done in our family.

Taylor family photo

I had to really lean on my husband, and he had to lean on me, and just reading God’s Word, praying to God, asking God to get us through this with the outcome that we want. Because God will get you through anything in life, but sometimes it’s not exactly what you prayed for. And in this circumstance, I just pleaded with God that our son would go through the process to be cured of sickle cell disease, and that he would be cured. And that there would be no long-term side effects. And that we would look back on this, and it would be as if he never even had sickle cell disease.

My prayer was so specific, just pleading to God. And knowing that I don’t know what God’s answer is going to be, and that I trust him regardless. And I know that he is in control. Part of staying strong was honestly knowing that there is a cure. I have no idea how I would’ve done if there wasn’t a cure for sickle cell disease. I mean, I just truly don’t know. And it makes me feel for parents who are living out just their lives with chronically ill children, and not really knowing what the future holds for many, many years.

For my husband and I, it was two and a half years. Our son was born, and two and a half years later he went through the transplant and was cured from the disease he was born with. We no longer have a chronically, critically ill child. And it’s just leaning on that faith, knowing that there is a cure, remembering what God has done in the past, in our lives, in my life, getting me through the death of my mother, who was my best friend, and just where I’m at today. Just knowing that no matter what, God is in control.

But it wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. It didn’t come easy, as far as leaning on faith and things like that. But it came easier because I knew that there was a cure for sickle cell disease. I knew that my husband and I were always on one accord. We knew that we were going to seek this cure, and that no matter what the doctors tell us, we’re seeking this cure. That makes me think of something, too, that I always say: God really knows his children. He knows us.

So as a child of God, He knows that I, Carina Taylor, I struggle with my faith sometimes more than others. Or maybe it’s the same as others, I don’t know. I know we all battle with faith sometimes and leaning on God and trusting in him. God knew that I needed reassurance through worldly ways, as well, during this process. And what I mean is there can be a situation when it comes to somebody’s health, and the doctor might say, you have a 20% chance of surviving if you go through this procedure or surgery.

But it could also be, I don’t know, there could be a different situation, and the doctor might say, there’s a 95% chance that you will survive if you go through this surgery, and everything else will be fine, whatever it may be. When I say God knows his children and he knows me, I was in no position to be hearing anything less than there is a cure for sickle cell disease. There’s an extremely high chance that if your son goes through this process to be cured, that it will be successful, and that he will have no long-term side effects.

When I say that, what I mean is once my husband and I researched the cure and things like that, I found out that if our son goes through the cure, the bone marrow transplant, if his sister is an exact match for him, first of all, and I know we’ll talk about that in a minute, but if his sister is an exact match for him, and he goes through this transplant before he turns 5 years old, it’s a higher than 90% success rate for him to be cured, for him to not have any long-term side effects.

“God really knows his children. He knows us.”

I mean, the success rate is just amazing. Anyone knows when a doctor tell you something is over 90% successful, that’s just a win when it comes to medicine, because they’ll never tell you 100%. So when I say God knows his children, he knew that I needed to hear that. Because, yes, there’s a cure for sickle cell disease. It depends on your age. It depends on if you have an exact match. It depends on how damaged your body is from the sickle cell disease … things like that when you go through transplant.

But in our specific situation, it was over 90% success rate that my son could be cured as if he never even had sickle cell disease. And I needed to hear that. Because if the doctor would’ve said 20%, 30%, I don’t know, anything less than 90%, I don’t know what we would’ve done. I don’t know. We were seeking for him to be cured, but at the cost of what?

Amanda: Right. Right. Of course those statistics depended on you finding a good match for that bone marrow transplant.

Carina: Yes.

Amanda: And so tell us about the day you found out that piece of the puzzle was going to fit.

Carina: Yeah. Right. I told you about the worst day of my life. And I’ll tell you about one of the happiest days of my life: Finding out that Londyn was a match for Wise. And then obviously the happiest day was him being cured. But yeah, we found out Londyn was a match for him when he was about … oh, gosh! I have all the information written down. I’m making a big old memory book about it. So I don’t want to say it wrong, but he was, I don’t know, I think Wise was like 5 months old. I can’t remember exactly. Sorry, let me back up for just one second.

At his 7-day-old checkup when we found out that he had sickle cell disease, they referred us to a hematologist that we saw within a few weeks. And when we saw that hematologist, the first thing out of Lloyd and I’s mouth was, “OK, there’s a cure for sickle cell disease. We’ve been Googling things. We’ve been reading different things. We see that there’s a cure through the bone marrow transplant. That’s all we want to talk about. I don’t want to talk about what it’ll look like when he becomes a teenager, as far as his sickle cell disease progression. I don’t want to talk about any of that. I want to talk about curing him before the age of 5.”

And so that’s what we talked about. And when we talked about that, his hematologist said, “Well, one of the biggest barriers to curing sickle cell disease through the bone marrow transplant, which is the only cure, a bone marrow transplant, but one of the barriers is having a match and going through a bone marrow transplant to cure sickle cell disease can be risky or riskier, significantly riskier, if you do not have an exact bone marrow match.”

We found out that the only way to have an exact bone marrow match is through a sibling, because essentially you’re looking for somebody … and it can’t be just any sibling, it has a full- blooded sibling. So same mom and dad for both the sickle cell disease warrior and the donor. And so, of course, Londyn has the same mom and dad as Wise. So we thought, well, this is his sibling. What do we do to see if she’s a match? And we learned that there’s a 20 to 25% chance that Londyn would be a match for him. And if I’m just being a 100% honest, I just thought, “Well, I guess we’ll find out. Those aren’t really super good odds.” But then I thought, “Well, there’s a 25% chance that he would’ve had sickle cell disease in the first place, and he does.”

“We found out that the only way to have an exact bone marrow match is through a sibling.”

Amanda: Right. He’s that 25 percenter. He’s going to make it.

Carina: Exactly. So here we are with this 25% again. This time I want to be the 25%. I want our family to be that part that is a match. And so the hematologist said, “Well, usually we test siblings or the sickle cell disease warrior.” They call them warriors. Because if you have sickle cell disease, you are truly a warrior for all that you go through. But for the sickle cell disease patient or warrior, they usually test them around age 1. Test siblings to see if they’re a match. That’s why I said I remember that he was not 1 year old because I couldn’t wait that long.

He was about 5 or 6 months old, and I said, “What? Can we just do it now? I need to know if she’s a match. Can we literally do it right now in this office? What do we need to do?” And the hematologist said, well, “Yeah, we can do it earlier. It will consist of drawing Londyn’s blood, Wise’s blood.” Again, he had already had several blood draws by the time he was 5 months old.

So doing another blood draw for him, drawing my blood and Lloyd’s blood. And basically just sending it off to the lab, seeing if she’s a 10-for-10 HLA match, just breaking down the DNA. I don’t know all of the proper verbiage when it comes to all of that, but looking at all four of our DNA makeups and seeing if Londyn matches Wise. Essentially we’re looking to see if Londyn’s HLA markers are the same as Wise. And if they are, then the idea is that you deplete Wise’s red blood cells, and put Londyn’s red blood cells into Wise, and he’s cured. And that his body will accept them because he has the same DNA markers, or HLA markings, as Londyn does.

And so from my understanding, there’s like over 100 different type of HLA markings. And excuse me if I’m saying this wrong, I’m definitely not a doctor, but I do know that the chances that all of them will match up perfectly, Londyn’s and Wise’s, as the same, even when you have the same mother and father is only a 20 to 25% chance that they will match up perfectly. And so we did all those blood draws. We had to wait some weeks, maybe three weeks, I can’t remember exactly, for the results.

I remember that day, as well, because Wise was in the hospital with a fever. Anytime that a sickle cell warrior has a fever, they have to be monitored to make sure there’s not an infection, or there’s not sepsis in the blood and things like that. So he was in the hospital and it was in May, right around my birthday, like days before or after my birthday, I can’t remember exactly, that he was in the hospital. The doctor came in and told us, “He looks good. There’s no sepsis in his blood. We’re going to give him Tylenol and send you guys home. But I also have the results of the blood draws all four of you did a few weeks ago.” And then she smiled, and I just broke down. She smiled and said, “She’s a match.” And then we just all started crying. Well, Lloyd and I did, and Londyn’s looking at us again like, “What’s going on?”

“She smiled and said, ‘She’s a match.'”

Amanda: What now?

Carina: I really made sure to tell her, “No, these are good tears. Nothing’s wrong. Nothing’s wrong. This is not like when 5 months ago, if you even remember that,” which I think she did, “But this is not like when we found out he had sickle cell. This is, we found out you’re a match.” And we just started hugging her, too, as if she did it on her own or something like … So we’re crying happy tears and hugging her and looking at her. It’s just amazing.

Just looking at her little bitty face and looking at Wise, because she’s not even … let’s see, this was in May. She’s not even 3 yet, and he is still under the age of 1. They’re just these little bitty things, and we’re just looking at them like, it’s just hope. In that moment when they said she is a match, we knew that these are just continued answered prayers the exact way that we were hoping they would be answered.

Amanda: Right. It just makes me think so much about my own prayers and the tragedies and things that I’ve gone through in life that while you were pregnant with Wise, you prayed so fervently that your son would not have sickle cell. And then you went through all of this turmoil and medical care and research and ups and downs and sleepless nights, and now here you are. You have a son without sickle cell, and you got what you prayed for. You just didn’t know how that was going to come about. And I think that happens to all of us in different ways. I know you’ve said to me that’s why you want to keep telling your testimony because it’s really easy when you get that first news to say, “Oh, God did not answer my prayer.”

Carina: Right. Right. Yeah. I mean, absolutely. And he answers prayers. And even though it may not be exactly how you thought it would be answered. To be honest, I mean sometimes devastating things still happen, and we wonder why. Like during this whole process, we lost an uncle to COVID, and I remember praying really hard. Actually, it’s kind of weird. It’s Lloyd’s uncle who I really loved dearly. Just a wonderful God-fearing man in his early 60s, I believe. He passed away on the same exact day, August 27, 2021, that Wise received his bone marrow to be cured of sickle cell disease.

He just loved us. He loved Wise, Londyn, his nephew Lloyd. He loved me as his niece-in-law. I remember praying extremely hard when we found out he had COVID and he wasn’t doing well, that he would bounce back, and that he wouldn’t pass away from it. I mean, extremely hard. There were many prayer warriors praying for Uncle Clyde. The prayer wasn’t answered in the way that we wanted it to be, but we trust God, and we believe that he’s always in control and God is a healer.

“We trust God, and we believe that he’s always in control.”

Uncle Clyde has two beautiful daughters, a beautiful wife, and they’re in that healing process now. Yeah. I mean, you continue to pray and trust in God and believe that he is in control, and there are so many things we don’t know. Londyn is 5 years old right now, and she asks me things all the time about God. She goes to a private Christian school where they do the Lord’s Prayer every morning. We just love that she’s learning about God, even when she’s away from the house.

She comes home and she asks me tons of questions. Half the time I’m like, “Londyn, those are great questions. I don’t know. I have a lot of questions for God, too. I don’t know. I know that he’s in control. I also know that we can look in the Bible a little bit more. We need to help Mommy and Daddy and Wise read the Bible more.” She reminds us, “We need to read our Bible.” You can search for answers in there, and God gives us answers.

And sometimes too, the answer is that God made us and God is all-knowing, and we are not. So we trust in him. We believe that he’s in control. And for the things that we don’t understand, I just tell Londyn, “When I do pass away and I meet God, or if the second coming is before I pass away, and that’s how I meet God, whichever way it is, I have a list of questions for him.”

Amanda: And speaking of being in a position to answer questions, as we wrap up here, can you tell us really quick, what are you doing for your job now?

Carina: Yes. I process leave of absences through Amazon. It’s in the HR team, the disability and leave services team. And so I help Amazonians get back to work or take time off work, whatever it may be, when it comes to their leave of absence needs. I actually have run across cases where somebody needed to take time off of work because they were going through a sickle cell disease crisis, because they have sickle cell disease, and then helping that same employee get back to work once they’re feeling better. So just the entire full cycle process of processing leave of absences.

And there also are cases where the parent needs to take off time from work because their child’s going through a bone marrow transplant. And being in that parent’s shoes myself, I know how important it is to not have to stress about work. About needing to step away from work for a long period of time, months even. I myself had to take as much FMLA as I could. Twelve weeks of FMLA to be with Wise while he went through his bone marrow transplant.

So I’m just very sensitive and empathetic to those people who need to take that time off, as well, because I know it’s important that the process goes smoothly. And it’s just one less thing that you have to worry about while you’re focusing on your family, the most important thing in the world.

Amanda: I just know there’s people out there that are telling their own story of recovery and saying, if it weren’t for this angel in HR, we never would’ve made it. I mean, if you’ve ever taken FMLA, the paperwork alone is exhausting when you’re already going through enough. And so I can just imagine having someone like yourself with a strong faith and a very clear idea of what it feels like to be on the other end has to be helpful for those families.

Carina: Yes. Absolutely. I hope I am. I’m definitely in a position at my job that may not sound super fun, things like that, processing paperwork and things. I mean, it’s all electronic, but it’s still processing paperwork. But it’s definitely something that I’m passionate about because I can relate so well. Sometimes parents are so stressed out, and I’ve been there, so I know exactly what it feels like, that they’re missing deadlines, or they just need an extra phone call from somebody on the disability and leave services team to remind them of certain things. So just having that empathetic mindset, I think makes me really good at the position.

“I think it’s definitely God’s doing that I’m in the position that I am in now.”

And I really enjoy it because I just understand how important it is to still keep your livelihood through your job while focusing on your child or your own health needs and things like that. I mean, I see the paperwork come in when I’m processing leave of absences. It’s just so like, I don’t know, it really touches my heart to see sickle cell warriors taking time off work. I really love being able to process those leave of absences because I know how much they need to rest. They need to recover from their pain crisis. Whatever it is they need to do to take care of themselves and then get back to work. Yeah. Definitely.

I think it’s definitely God’s doing that I’m in the position that I am in now. I know that when you introduced me, I was graduating from SPU with a bachelor degree in individual and family development. That helped with what I’m doing now, as well. And then I went back to school and got a master’s in human resource management. So coupling that education with my experience, with my faith, to land in human resources for an extremely large company is definitely no mistake.

Amanda: Yeah. It’s like God was in control even when we didn’t know. Yeah. Well, let me end with our favorite last question that we ask all our guests: If you could have everyone in Seattle do one thing differently tomorrow that would make the world a better place, what would you have all of us do?

Carina: Slow down. Just slow down. It’s said all the time, it’s a famous quote: Life is short. After birthing two children and being with my husband for 10 years and just looking back like, wow, life really is short. Time is flying. I remember when we wanted to do this transplant so bad. COVID postponed the first time that we were going to do his transplant. And so we had to wait a year, which all worked out. God’s timing is just that: It’s God’s timing and it’s perfect timing.

And now we look back,and the transplant’s over. It’s been five, almost six months since he had his transplant, and time moves so fast. You want to cherish moments. I would just tell everybody to slow down, just slow down and take a moment to really spend time with family. And that’s the most appropriate thing to say now during a pandemic, as well, when life is not certain all the time.

Amanda: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story, your testimony, and your heart with us today. Let’s end with our prayer of blessing: May the Lord bless you and all you put your hands to. May the Lord be gracious to you and all who hear your story. May God bring unity to our community, and peace to us all. Amen.

Carina: Amen. Thank you.

Amanda: Thank you so much.


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