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Porscha Burks

Porscha Burks

Sickle Cell Disease, Treatment, Wisconsin

Porscha was diagnosed with sickle cell disease when she was four years old. As she got older, the painful episodes caused by the disease became more frequent and difficult to recover from.

“By my early 20s, I felt like my disease had taken over. I had little hope of living a normal life,” says Porscha.

In 2011, Burks met BloodCenter of Wisconsin’s Dr. Joshua Field, whose work at our Blood Research Institute focuses on discovering new treatments, and ultimately cures, for people like her. Porscha started receiving regular blood transfusions — red cell exchange therapy — every four weeks.

“It changed my life,” says Porscha. “Receiving blood has allowed me to do all of the things most people take for granted, like hold a part-time job, being social and accomplish my goals in life. And I attribute that to something as simple as blood donation.”


Versiti is home to world-renowned blood health innovators.

Versiti Blood Research Institute and Medical Sciences Institute are located on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus in Wauwatosa, Wisc. Their 40 investigators are internationally known blood health innovators whose work spans basic, translational and clinical research in a variety of areas, including: sickle cell disease, hemophilia, cellular therapy and many more.

Additionally, Versiti Comprehensive Center for Bleeding Disorders (CCBD) provides diagnosis and ongoing medical and supportive care for patients with disorders that affect bleeding and clotting. Physicians work closely with these patients and are able to take what they learn in the clinical setting to the lab, where they partner with basic researchers to develop innovative treatments.

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