Cassandra Trimnell was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia in 1987 when she was just a baby.

She inherited the gene that causes this disease from both of her parents, meaning she has sickle cell type SS. This means she can experience the worst symptoms — including fatigue, extreme joint pain, anemia, and infections — at a higher rate.  

She's not the only one with sickle cell in her family either. Her younger sister Joanne was also born with it, and two of her other siblings have the trait, which means they don't have the disease but can pass it along to their children.

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You probably wouldn't guess this college freshman has sickle cell disease.

She went through a lot as a kid, but now she's finally coming out strong.

Taylor Delk just started college in Atlanta, and she can't wait to get into dating for the first time.

However, she has one major concern: when and how should she tell the boys she likes that she has a serious disease?

All photos via Taylor Delk.

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Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Chalk up another big potential win for science – it just helped one kid avoid some of the devastating effects of sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease is a chronic, genetic blood disorder that affects about 100,000 Americans. It can affect anyone, although it disproportionately occurs in African-Americans. It’s manageable with medicine and proper care, but can still be dangerous and extremely painful. It's a lifelong condition.

Or, maybe not. Because that last part — about it being a lifelong condition – might be changing.

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