Brandon Young's Story
Hoping to Break the Sickle Cycle
Wherever he goes, Brandon Young has a very important message, and deeply personal story, to share. It might be at his Uncle Willie's barber shop on Dixwell Avenue, at a club or restaurant or during one of his frequent visits to Yale-New Haven Hospital. "It can be anywhere and I can be talking to anybody," said Brandon. "I'll just ask the question, '"Do you know what sickle cell anemia is?'"
Brandon is all too familiar with that inherited blood disease. Diagnosed at age 5, he can't remember a day in the past 23 years without suffering some degree of the symptomatic pain associated with sickle cell. And since 2006, he and his family have been dealing with another type of agony — the death of his younger brother Derrick from complications related to his battle with sickle cell.
"He was the only other person with sickle cell I knew until I was 16," Brandon says, "and as the older sibling, I was always looking after my little brother." Fortunately, another brother, Jordan, does not have sickle cell.
Brandon's visits to YNHH have been to receive inpatient and outpatient treatment through the hospital's Sickle Cell Program, which provides comprehensive care including pain management, psychosocial counseling and education services. The program also helps patients to access community resources such as transportation and medication payment assistance programs.
The Sickle Cell Program treated nearly 1,200 pediatric and adult patients in 2011. This program is just one part of Yale-New Haven's almost $7.9 million investment in promoting health and wellness in the community by developing, sponsoring and participating in a wide range of health and wellness services.
The Sickle Cell Program is just one of many outpatient services YNHH provides to help uninsured and underinsured newborns, children, adolescents, adults and seniors. The Primary Care Center (PCC), which includes the Women's Center, provides routine, preventive and urgent care to children, adolescents, adults and pregnant women. The PCC also offers medical specialty clinics, screenings, support groups and community referral services.
Brandon is both a recipient of Yale-New Haven Hospital's services and a staunch advocate for health education in the community. Brandon remains committed to making sure everyone understands how sickle cell anemia impacts the lives of other patients and their families. He plans to finish college and get a degree in counseling so he can more formally spread his message about breaking the "sickle cycle" of parents passing on the disease to future generations.
For more information about YNHH's community-based health and wellness programs, visit http://www.ynhh.org/community-health/community-health-services.aspx.