T Y R E E M O S E S J O N E S

Written by Susan D. Brandenburg

Eleven-year-old Tyree Moses Jones was only two weeks old when his mother Tabatha Williams received a life-altering call from a hematology/ oncology nurse explaining that her son tested positive for sickle cell disease.
Tabatha is a woman who meets challenges in her life head-on, leaning on faith and family to carry her through. “Sickle cell disease is terrible . . . you have no idea. It’s been a long, hard road for Tyree and all of us who love him dearly.”

An inherited form of anemia, sickle cell disease is a condition in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout the body. In his eleven years, Tyree Jones has suffered many chronic symptoms, including acute chest pain; extreme fatigue; painful swelling of his hands, feet, and other extremities; irrational irritability; infections; pneumonia; fever; and, most recently, gallstones. “The doctors are probably going to have to remove his gallbladder,” says Tabatha, with a sigh of resignation. She never knows when her son will have another acute attack or emergency hospital visit.

Despite these challenges, his mother insists that “Tyree’s tough. He works very hard to live normally.” Now in sixth grade at Pinedale Elementary School, he makes good grades and loves baseball. Currently, Tyree is a member of the Arlington Marlins baseball team, and he is active at the Good Samaritan Christian Church in Jacksonville Beach. When Tyree is hospitalized, a strong community of his teammates, friends, and family are frequent visitors.

A hard-working single mom, Tabatha Williams credits a loving, extended support group for helping her son live his active life as normally as possible. “His dad and step-mom, Freddie and Shemika Jones, his five older sisters and his younger brother, his grandmother, and the incomparable doctors at Wolfson Children’s Hospital – they are critical for Tyree’s healing.” Calling the Wolfson Children’s Hospital staff “simply the best,” Tabatha talks of Tyree’s hematology/oncology team – Drs. Cynthia Gauger, Michael Joyce and Manisha Bansal. “I love those doctors!” she declares. “When I see them in action with my son, I feel like we can relax and breathe a little easier. You can’t put a price on that.”

A future bone marrow transplant is highly possible for Tyree. But it is risky and offers no guarantees. Luckily Tyree’s 13-year-old sister, an honor student at Mayport Middle School, is a perfect match for her younger brother.
Though future treatments for Tyree may be uncertain, Tyree faces life head on and doesn’t let sickle cell disease stop him. “For now, my Tyree is a good boy who always opens the door for the ladies, loves baseball, and deeply wants to be a doctor or a pastor when he grows up,” says his mom. “He just happens to have sickle cell disease.”

SPONSORED BY
DR. VANNI R. STRENTA AND
THE BOYNTON FAMILY

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