Health & Wellness

Newark Student and Sickle Cell Patient at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey Inspires her Family and Medical Team

September 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM

September is Sickle Cell Anemia Month. During this time the Valerie Fund Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, located at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey (CHoNJ) at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center hopes to call attention to this condition by spotlighting a courageous young patient who continues to persevere in school and life despite medical setbacks.

Newark resident Makkah Kennedy was only one month old when she experienced her first pain crisis and was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.  Makkah suffers from a severe form of the disease and as she grew, she generally had three or four admittances to the hospital each month, which began to affect her ability to keep up with school.

Then, a year ago, Makkah began a new treatment at the Valerie Fund Center, using hydroxyurea, which is prescribed for patients with moderate-to-severe sickle cell disease to help reduce the frequency of pain episodes and acute chest syndrome. The medication has greatly reduced her hospitalizations to fewer than three or four in a full year.

Sign Up for E-News

Through all her medical ups and downs, Makkah has maintained a very positive attitude.

“This little person who we are so blessed to have always continues to persevere,” says her mother, Lathrsha Kennedy. “She has suffered from the worst, most severe pain possible, but it never disables her. Makkah has always had a strong faith and that she keeps going.”

The medical team at the Valerie Fund Center admires Makkah’s perseverance as much as her family does.

“Makkah is a joy and an inspiration,” says Peri Kamalakar, MD, Pediatric Hematologist /Oncologist and Medical Director of The Valerie Fund Children’s s at all three sites of Barnabas Health system. ”She is a good student with an excellent attitude and has excelled over the past few years despite her complications with sickle cell disease. Her parents are very involved in her life and she travels with her school on trips and enjoys helping others.”

Lathrsha Kennedy and her husband, Darshawn, have four children, and Makkah is a twin. Now a student at North Star Academy Charter School of Newark, Makkah enjoys singing, cooking, especially pancakes, watching American Idol and spending time with her cousins and siblings. In particular her older sister, Amora, helps her to cope with her condition and express her concerns.

When she has a painful day, Makkah says that she takes deep breaths and prays for help to get through the difficult times.

Her advice to children with sickle cell disease is to never stop trying to achieve their dreams.

“You have to be strong,” she says. “You can never give up when you are dealing with school and life. You just have to keep going.”

Now, with her new treatment from CHoNJ, the Kennedy family is more hopeful than ever about Makkah’s improved health.

“We see a brighter future for Makkah,” her mother says.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Wed, January 18, 7:30 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

"Snuff Out Smoking!" - A Smoking Cessation ...

Health & Wellness

Sat, January 21, 2:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

Play Reading by The Theater Project

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, January 23, 3:00 PM

Elizabeth Public Library, Elizabeth

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Assistance

Health & Wellness

TAPinto Launches Free TAPinto App for iPhone and Android: Download it Today

January 16, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ - launched a free TAPinto App today for iPhone and Android, enabling readers to obtain their local news and events in a fast, easy-to-use application.  With this launch, TAPinto becomes one of the only local news publications in the country to have its own App.

The TAPinto App not only features news and events, but also enables readers to receive push ...

Plainfield Man Charged with Manslaughter

January 17, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ –Plainfield resident Jamie Castillo Castro, 24, is charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter in connection with the death of 34-year-old Oscar Isaac Ramos Lopez, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Jan. 14.

Castro has been arrested and charged for his alleged role in an altercation that resulted in another city man’s death that happened at ...

WP Police Recover Body in Morris Canal

January 13, 2017

WOODLAND PARK, NJ - A body was recovered by authorities this morning in a section of a stream located in the Morris Canal. Police closed off the area located behind the American Legion Hall on Mount Pleasant Avenue, where they were investigating the scene. 

According to Detective Lt. John Uzzalino, police received a call at approximately 8:30 a.m. that a body was found in the ...

Women's March on Washington: Why, and Why Now

January 11, 2017

As Donald Trump’s inauguration draws near, a number of groups are planning various events and rallies – perhaps most notably, the Women’s March on Washington. I have read a number of opinion pieces and spoken to many people about the March, and several questions and criticisms seem to consistently arise. I would like to address some two of the major themes.

(Q) The election ...

Mother Seton Faculty Become Seton Associates

January 13, 2017

Three Mother Seton faculty members became Seton Associates of the Sisters of Charity at a liturgy honoring Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton at Convent Station on Saturday, Jan. 7. Seton Associates are women and men who, following their own particular vocation in life, seek to deepen their relationship with God and to share in the mission and ministry of the sisters. They live out the charism of ...

Falling by Jane Green

Falling by Jane Green (Berkley, 2016)


Every now and again I just love a mindless romance novel, and I've been a huge fan of Jane Green's since her first book, Jemima J: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans. Despite being classified as “chick lit,” the character and plot of Jemima J. has stayed with me for sixteen years after first reading it because the story ...