TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Imagine having to spend hours in a hospital room every three weeks, for your entire life. It's what a 10-year-old Michigan boy has grown accustomed to. Rodrick Brown is one of the "miracle children" we're shining a light on with the help of Mercy Children's Hospital and the Children's Miracle Network.
Rodrick has to get a blood transfusion every three weeks as treatment for his sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is when a person's red blood cells are shaped like a crescent instead of a disc.
"They get caught in different parts of his body, which can cause pain," explained Rodrick's mother, Danette Rzeszotarski.
Rodrick tested positive for sickle cell at just six weeks old. It's a diagnosis hard for any mother to swallow.
"Devastating. I just learned to cope with it. Learned to deal with it. I vowed to myself that I would not let him grow up feeling sick. So, he was going to live a life like every other kid," said Rzeszotarski.
That's exactly what he's done. The 10-year-old loves basketball and he has tons of friends. His favorite thing to do is play video games. He plays during his treatments, to help pass the time. He even gets a little homework done.
Blood transfusions aren't the only thing Rodrick has to deal with. He's on a lot of medication to treat the sickle cell.
"Some days he gets taken off meds. Then he gets back on the med. It's kind of, you know, you just have to learn to be flexible," said Rzeszotarski.
Sickle Cell also makes Rodrick susceptible to pain crisis and other complications.
"Acute chest syndrome is what he gets attacked with the most but he hasn't had it in about two years," says Rzeszotarski.
Rodrick says it's scary when he's sick.
"I have to come here (the hospital) overnight," said Rodrick.
It all sounds so difficult, especially since sickle cell is something Rodrick will have to deal with his entire life, but he and his mom are positive.
"We can't be down about it, because then you won't enjoy life. If you think about all the positive things and all of the things that he can do and is doing, you just don't focus on the bad," said Rzeszotarski.
One of those positive things is the support Danette and Rodrick get from the Children's Miracle Network at Mercy Hospital.
"When he's here, being able to go down to the kids' center and play video games and just actually, it's not a burden when we come here, you know what I mean? He actually looks forward to coming and having fun while he's getting his treatment done," said Rzeszotarski.
The staff help bring a smile as well.