Royalty's Story

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A positive outlook helps teen manage sickle cell disease

Fourteen-year-old Royalty Dalton spreads positivity wherever she goes. She and her younger sister, Brilliancee, 11, host a YouTube channel called Amillion Treasures where they spotlight “good, beautiful news from all around the world,” and “every act of kindness we can find.”

Royalty says her positive outlook helps her overcome the daily challenges of living with sickle cell disease. On days when she feels tired and winded, she fights to stay strong for her family and to spread more joy in the world.

Her mom, Shirnita, understands the physical and emotional pain and the toll living with this chronic condition can take on her daughter because she too lives with sickle cell disease. Shirnita was a patient at Children’s Wisconsin throughout her entire childhood — cared for by the same physician, Paul Scott, MD, that Royalty sees today.

Royalty visits the Sickle Cell Clinic at Children’s every few months for monitoring. Living with this serious chronic disease can be tiring during the best of times and severely painful during the worst. She takes medication daily, and she eats well and takes care of her body. Still, there are many days she just doesn’t feel well, and she knows when she starts experiencing chest, leg or arm pain and bad headaches that she might need to be admitted to the hospital for more extensive care.

People with sickle cell disease have a greater risk of infection. Last year, Royalty developed a difficult-to-diagnose fungal infection called blastomycosis that infected her lungs and caused many other complications. She spent more than three weeks at Children’s being cared for by a team of specialists from pulmonology, cardiology, infectious disease, hematology and others in addition to her regular sickle cell team.

“Sometimes it’s hard and difficult in the hospital,” said Royalty. “I try to stay positive for myself because you never know what others around you are going through.” Her optimistic outlook and support services like pet therapy, art and music therapy help her through the hospital stays.

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