Two-year-old Audrey Strock looks perfectly healthy, but she suffers from from a disease that affects just one out of every 5,000 people. Audrey has received ten blood transfusions to combat hereditary spherocytosis, a blood disorder that that causes anemia as it reduces the body's ability to maintain a normal level of red cells.
“Whenever Audrey gets sick, even if it’s a minor cold, her hemoglobin [reflecting the level of red cells in her blood] drops considerably to a dangerous level, causing her to need a transfusion,” says Heather Strock, Audrey's mother.
Paleness, tiredness, and slow growth are other effects of Audrey’s disease. When Audrey reaches the age of four or five, she may be able to have surgery to remove her spleen, which usually results in a return to normal hemoglobin levels. Until then, she may continue to need periodic blood transfusions.