I. The Symptoms
18 year old Jake and his friend Amadi,
a Nigerian exchange student, were
having a great time playing soccer, when Amadi suddenly doubled
over in pain, completely out of breath. "What's wrong?" Jake asked, in a
panic. But Amadi's Mom had already rushed over to comfort him.
She took out some "medicine" and gave it to him.
"This is a bad one Mom", Amadi said, gasping.
His eyes were filled with tears and had a strange yellow tone
to them. "I know
Son, these pain episodesreally hard. But the
medicine will help." They left and Jake went home,
puzzled and confused.
When he saw Amadi at school 2 days later,
Jake noticed he had a big bandage on his leg. "What
happened?" Jake asked. "Did you fall?".
"No, I get these big sores once in a while. It
usually happens after those awful pain episodes". Jake was
very concerned about his friend and didn't understand what was
happening to him.
Part II: Getting to the Cause (to be
given out after Part I has been investigated)
Jake had invited Amadi over to his house to
help him work on his pet project, restoring a 1967
Firebird. Jake loved to work on the engine and get into
all the little parts so he could understand exactly how each
piece allowed the engine to work properly. As they sat together, puttering with
the parts, Jake asked, "Amadi, I understand that your pain
episodes and leg ulcers are caused by Sickle Cell Anemia, but
I don't understand how all that works."
biology class how we learned that the blood carries oxygen to
the different body tissues? It's kind of like the parts of
this engine," Amadi explained. "Our red blood cells
have this protein in it called hemoglobin, which is the part
that actually carries the
oxygen." In my body, the hemoglobin isn't the right
shape, so it causes my red blood cells to clog up my blood
Always wanting the details, Jake asked,
"But how did that shape wind up wrong, and how would the
wrong shape clog your vessels?"
Part III: The genetics behind the
disorder (to be
given out after Part II has been investigated) - To Be