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After losing their son to sickle cell anemia local couple assisting others

Aaron Ardoin (Photo courtesy Priscilla Hill-Ardoin)

SAN ANTONIO - A local couple is Making a Difference in the fight against sickle cell anemia.

For more than a decade the Aaron Ardoin Foundation has been helping families living with the inherited blood disorder.

"You cannot comfort your child and you cannot make it better," explained Priscilla Hill-Ardoin.

Twelve years after her son's death, the pain is still present for Priscilla Hill-Ardoin. Aaron Ardoin died from complications associated with sickle cell anemia at 23 years old.

For people living with the genetic blood disorder, it's a life-long battle of on again off again pain.

"They know that pain is coming back, and they know there's nothing they can do about it," said Priscilla.

Aaron was the Ardoin's first born son. Despite his positive "can do" attitude, there were times of despair and hopelessness.

"Aaron told me at one time, he says, 'Mom I just can't beat it.' He says, 'I eat well and I exercise and I have a good sleeping pattern, and I do everything right, and I just can't beat it,'" remembered Priscilla.

He would eventually succumb to his illness.

"And it was a difficult time for us because it was so unexpected."

Soon after his death, the Ardoin's started the Aaron Ardoin Foundation for Sickle Cell Research and Education. Since then, the San Antonio couple has effected positive change for others living with the disease.

"And we knew the heartbreak of a family. We knew the pain that it created for not just for the person who suffered but for the entire family."

Through the foundation, they've been able to help families, locally, nationally and internationally. In partnership with the South Texas Clinic, they've set up a crisis fund at University Hospital.

"Real dollars at their ready to help our in a myriad of ways that you can imagine."

The foundation helps children with sickle cell as far away as Nigeria, and most recently in Flint, Michigan where a water crisis has gripped national headlines.

"I knew there had to be children there with sickle cell that had to be caught up in the water poisoning crisis."

She says the Aaron Ardoin Foundation has a mission to raise awareness, promote prevention, enhance treatment, and ultimately advance a cure.

"What we do makes a difference. Not only do I know it matters, it matters in a way that makes a difference," said Priscilla. "It makes me feel good, and I know it makes Aaron feel good. I know it does."

Learn more about the The Aaron Ardoin Foundation Supporting Sickle Cell Research & Education at www.aaronardoinfoundation.org

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