I am Edward Ebolias and this is my story; I am a parent to a twelve year old boy (Odeke Aaron) with sickle cell disease. He was diagnosed with the condition at the age of seven months and I happened not to know what to do in relation to sickle cell disease. He started being very sickly and the hospital visits increased.

Notably one time he was taken ill at the age of two years. I was referred to Mbale regional hospital and upon reaching there found a very long queue in the acute ward and I remained there helpless, then with the grace of God the Doctor on duty walks in and asks for my book for prescription and he immediately wrote and marked the prescription with an X. I was admitted into the acute ward where I was told there was no blood which Aaron was urgently in need of. However, due to the limited staff and the overwhelming numbers, I was requested to check whether blood had been delivered to the blood bank, which happened to be in the hospital. I eventually ran to the blood bank and found them just delivering blood. So I hurried back to the ward and a nurse was sent to collect blood immediately and in the meantime the transfusion line was being placed. All the beds in the ward happened to be fully occupied as well as the stands for the fluids so I had to hold up the blood bottle for all the time the transfusion was taking place.

That day I remember well was a Saturday and the transfusion went on into the night time. Due to the high demand the blood got finished from the blood bank by around midnight and some lives were lost in the due course. In the morning, Aaron’s condition still needed more blood and because I was around in the night when the blood got finished I became desperate but was once more told to go to find out if there was any blood in the blood bank. To my surprise I got blood being offloaded and I returned immediately to tell the nurse on duty who went and collected blood and Aaron was transfused again on Sunday around 11.00 am. All that time I had been standing with nowhere to even to sit and again I had to hold the stand till the blood got finished.

That transfusion was the beginning of many more to follow in basically many hospitals I visited. All in all Aaron has had more than twenty transfusions in his thirteen years of life. At one time he got a stroke which paralyzed his right leg from the ankle downwards because I was ignorant about the effects of sickle cell disease and I did not know what to do in case of any disease attack. This increased the urgency with which Aaron needed blood every time he fell ill so as to avoid another stroke. Blood was always needed whenever his hb went low and even at times when he was in persistent pain that was not going away he had to be transfused.

Blood has really become Aaron’s life saver and I would like to appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, all those good Samaritans who have continually donated blood to save lives of those in need. I pray that those good people continue supporting blood donation because there are very many people out there who need blood to survive. I also want to highly appreciate those persons who manage the blood at the blood bank and in the hospitals for the great work they are doing to ensure that blood reaches those in need with ease.

Key Entry Rules

  1. You must be someone with Sickle Cell Disease or have some strong connection with SCD through kinship, friendship or caring responsibility.
  2. Your story – which must be true and should include some aspect of the importance of blood in the narrative – must be between 200–2,000 words.
  3. We expect most entries to come from Africa, but where you live is less important than the story you have to share.
  4. Stories must be submitted by the contest deadline of 30 September 2016.
  5. Photographs and other media can be included and are very much encouraged.
  6. First, second and third place winners will be awarded a monetary prize of $500/$350/$250 respectively. There will also be two special $125 prizes for standout young contestant (under 16) and standout health care professional, if not represented among the overall winners.

Story Criteria

Contest Rules

Past Winners