“I may have sickle cell, but sickle cell does not have me.”
Kiarra Roseburgh, the SCDAA National Child Ambassador, is a talented and active nine-year old fourth grader who is a tireless and very special advocate for the sickle cell community.
Her platform, “KickingItWithKiarra,” started as just her team name for the annual SCDAA-PDVC-Walter E. Brandon Sickle Cell Disease Walk. Now, her platform has grown and expanded beyond just her family to include her church, school friends, her parents, co-workers, and lots of social media friends, which has awarded her the #1 fundraiser for three years in a row for the annual Walk. Kiarra also raises awareness during Sickle Cell Awareness Month, Sickle Cell Advocacy Day, and World Sickle Cell Day. On World Sickle Cell Day, Kiarra has honored children affected by sickle cell disease (SCD) and the warriors that have passed by lighting two candles and naming the individuals. She also started a pen-pal program for children living with SCD and has written to and become friends with children as far away as the United Kingdom.
Last month, Kiarra also appeared on Telemundo and the NBC-TV affiliate in Philadelphia where she was interviewed about her experiences living with SCD and the importance of increasing awareness about this disease. With the poise of someone much older than her years, Kiarra commands her audience and makes a difference by sharing her story.
Over the past three months, however, Kiarra experienced a few crisis that landed her in the hospital. Her strength and resilience seem to always keep her moving forward. Born with type SC SCD, Kiarra is still your typical little girl.
She attends Watson Comly School.
She loves to play with her dolls, dance, play basketball, make new friends, and draw. She is involved in many extracurricular activities, such as being an active member of the Joyful Noize Youth Choir and Dance Ministry;
and an honorary member of the Gems Missionary Team at Calvary Christian Church in Philadelphia.
Tanique Mitchell, Kiarra’s grandmother says, “As a family, we quickly set two important goals. The first was to provide emotional support for Kiarra. The other was to learn how to become caregivers for our grandchild. We knew dealing with our personal emotions would be challenging but secondary to Kiarra’s needs as a child with SCD.” Kiarra meets kids from around the world that have SCD, and they share their stories and their needs. “This is very important to her, as she wants to inspire everyone to be just as faithful and as strong as she is,” states Mrs. Mitchell. Kiarra receives her specialized care from the Children’s Hematology Department at St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
Kiarra is truly an inspiration, and SCDAA couldn’t be more proud of this special young advocate.