Elodie Ontala’s engaging smile belies the challenges she’s faced. Elodie has sickle cell disease.
She was born in Gabon, Africa. It was there, at age three, that she was diagnosed with sickle cell disease. Growing up, Elodie would experience a sickle cell crisis at least twice a month, forcing her to spend days in the hospital at a time. The treatments she received in Gabon were good, but ultimately not sophisticated enough to fully help.
At the age of 14, Elodie moved to Milwaukee and began her treatment at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. When she turned 19, she began treatment with Versiti Associate Medical Director Dr. Joshua Field at the Adult Sickle Cell Clinic at Froedtert Hospital in Wisconsin, an event that changed her life. Every few weeks, she receives blood transfusions which have allowed her to stay strong and active.
As an adult, Elodie has experienced little to no sickle cell crises and in 2016 she obtained her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“I’ve experienced a lot of pain throughout the years,” says Elodie. “The blood transfusions are making a really big difference. I have very good quality of life. I exercise 3 days a week – and am able to swim every Friday.”
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