Tanyshia takes sickle cell journey one day at a time

Some might say that Tanyshia Forehand marches to the beat of a different drummer. The amazing 16-year-old was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at 6 weeks old and spent the better part of her childhood in and out of the hospital.

By the age of 11, Tanyshia had been admitted to the hospital to have her spleen removed, her tonsils taken out and rods placed in her back for severe scoliosis, not to mention the many pain crises she experienced, which occur frequently for many sickle cell patients. The staff at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta became such a familiar sight for Tanyshia and her parents, Eddie and Wanzell, that, as Wanzell says, “We thought we'd have to move our beds into Children’s at one point.”

Yet, Tanyshia has not let sickle cell disease stop her from experiencing life to the fullest. Her spirit and determination have taken her all the way to California to march for five miles in the annual Rose Bowl Parade with her high school's marching band. A rising senior at Stephenson High School, Tanyshia stays busy reading and working during the summer as a teen counselor at the Center for the Visually Impaired. She has the opportunity to share her stories with other sickle cell patients at Camp New Hope, a sickle cell camp held each summer at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Ga.

Her parents have played a key role in helping Tanyshia lead a normal life, too. Eddie and Wanzell encouraged her to take classes and training at Barbizon School of Modeling, and Tanyshia will complete her modeling portfolio soon. She does everything a “typical” 16-year-old girl does, but, as Wanzell knows, “You have to take it one day at a time.”