Many celebrities have shared either their own personal journeys with sickle cell anemia or the journeys of their loved ones. Earlier this week, NFL star Tevin Coleman and his wife, Akilah Coleman, shared in a joint social media post, that their 6-year-old daughter Nazaneen had to be placed on a ventilator as a result of her sickle cell anemia journey.

“A short story about the most resilient girl I know. Nazaneen spent some time on a BiPAP ventilator machine which essentially means she couldn’t breathe on her own & needed the machine to expand her lungs & breathe for her. She also received her first blood transfusion,” Akilah began the touching detailed post began.


“I admire & envy the self control @teco_raww26 has because when Nazaneen was placed on the ventilator I fell to my knees hyperventilating. I was swinging in & out of consciousness, it’s a feeling unexplainable watching your child literally fight to breathe. Tevin managed to calm my spirit while managing his own. I’m so sorry for that because it doesn’t leave space for him to go through the motions.”

“It’s really hard for any parent to be this kind of vulnerable & transparent but we feel it’s important because we share so many of our highs & our successions that it would be disingenuous & misleading not to share this. I’ve realized one of the hardest things for me to do as a parent, wife & woman is to surrender. I cannot always control the outcome & that is such a hard pill to swallow. We have moments in life where we are often stripped of legacy, wealth & success & nothing else matters but the air in our lungs.”

She concluded, “No amount of hard work or dedication can alter this. It’s humbling but inspiring when we rise back up. Stay until the end to see how our girl is doing today & hear the sweetest message from Nazzys class. She listened to that message more times than I can count. Even when she couldn’t speak & all she could do was cry that audio was on repeat for two weeks in the hospital. I think it kept her spirits up & determined to fight. It serves as a reminder of the power of friendship no matter the age!  #sicklecell #sicklecellawareness”

In addition to Nazaneen, aka “Nazzy,” the NFL 49ers running back and his wife also share a son, Nazaneen’s twin brother, Nezerah.

Whether it is on or off the field, the entire family is extremely involved in advocating for sickle cell anemia awareness and is ensuring that the disease gets the attention and research efforts that it deserves. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the hemoglobin is abnormal, which causes the red blood cells to become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle.”

The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious complications (health problems) such as infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.

While a cure for sickle cell anemia is not yet available, the efforts of advocates like the Coleman family give hope that a cure will be discovered in the near future.


Photo: Tevin Coleman Instagram; Akilah Coleman Instagram

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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