Arielle McFarland

Vestavia Teen Lives Active Life Despite Severe Blood Disorder

Healthy Living


19-year-old Arielle McFarland enjoys painting, attends Lawson State Community College and is a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. She lives a very active life despite having a severe blood disorder called sickle cell anemia hemoglobin SS. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited gene from both parents. Sickle cells are abnormally-shaped red blood cells that can stick to blood vessel walls causing blockage and preventing the cells from carrying oxygen through the body. When this happens, it causes a pain crisis.

Arielle McFarland
Vestavia’s Arielle McFarland is able to attend college despite having a high risk and complex blood disorder. With the help of Children’s of Alabama, she manages her disease well with medication and a monthly red blood cell exchange.

Arielle was diagnosed with the disease by a screening at birth. “Her father and I knew we had the sickle cell gene, and there was a one-in-four chance for each pregnancy that our child could be born with it,” said Arielle’s mother Sophia McFarland. Arielle was six months old when she had her first pain crisis. “She developed dactylitis, which causes swelling of the hands, and is very painful,” said Sophia. Arielle was treated at Children’s of Alabama, which would be the first of many hospital visits to come. “It has been difficult, but everyone at Children’s has always been so sweet to us through all of this,” said Sophia. “We have always had a very good relationship with everyone on the staff.”

Arielle’s condition continues to be high risk and complex, but she manages her disease well with medication and a monthly red blood cell exchange. As for Arielle’s care at Children’s, her mom said, “The support, the attention and information they have provided us has been invaluable. They are like family to us.” 

-Children’s of Alabama


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