Sammie fights sickle cell and does her part to save the world
Girls’ Life: What is your experience with sickle cell disease?
Sammie: I was born with sickle cell disease. At two years old, I was given a test that said I could have a stroke at any given time in my life. Since then, I have had blood transfusions every two weeks to prevent strokes. At four years old, my spleen was collecting too much blood, so we had to remove it. It was my first operation. At age seven, I had a major stroke and two minor strokes. When I was in the hospital, I was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder called Moyamoya. I had to have brain surgery within three months. Since then, I wanted to help other kids like me, so my mom and I started the Samantha Raine Foundation.
Girls’ Life: What does the Samantha Raine Foundation do?
Sammie: We make dolls and donate them to kids with sickle cell anemia. We help families with children with sickle cell. We often pay their bills. My goal is to do room makeovers for the children so they can go home to something special and fun and fabulous.
[My brother and I also] started a volunteer youth group. We volunteered over 700 collective hours for the American Red Cross. We collected goods and donated them to My Sister’s Place, the women’s shelter.
Girls’ Life: Do you think it’s important for other people your age to get involved with charity work?
Sammie: Yes, I think it’s very important. It’s important to recognize sickle cell in schools and to know what is happening and for people to have compassion or donate and do community things. I encourage them a lot to start donating and giving blood. It affects [people with sickle cell disease] and other people who need blood like [victims] in car accidents [or patients of] other surgeries or cancer.
Girls’ Life: A lot of people refer to you as an “inspiration.” How does that make you feel?
Sammie: I don’t know how to put it in words. I feel blessed. I always feel happy no matter what. I’m happy to tell others that I am here for them and that they can always come to me for help. I just love people and I love helping them. It just makes me feel 100-percent better.
Girls’ Life: What inspires you?
Sammie: My mom. She inspires me.
Girls’ Life: What do you think is the best part about what you do?
Sammie: Helping people is the best part. It makes me feel amazing to help and encourage people.
Girls’ Life: What words of advice do you have for your peers?
Sammie: I just want to say that you can do it. You can do pretty much anything. Just keep going no matter what happens. It will always turn out right and be OK. Be a good person at all times. Try to do as much as you can to help.