Advocate Profile: Ines Lukombo
In August of 2009, when most students were nervous about the start of school, Ines was nervous about something very different -- a bone marrow transplant. Ines had sickle cell anemia, an inherited disorder that causes blood cells to become stiff, leading to vein blockage, pain and potential organ damage.
Thanks to a marrow donation from her sister, Ines received the transplant she needed to overcome her disease.
Today, seven years post-transplant, Ines is a busy college student, anxiously anticipating the start of the school year and a return to her studies as a Molecular Biology and English major at the University of Pittsburgh. Ines has made sickle cell research and advocacy a priority. She has returned to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. This time not as a patient, but as a research assistant with the UPMC Sickle Cell team with plans to pursue a career in hematology.
Ines is a strong advocate for sickle cell research and Be The Match. Ines offered a patient's perspective by sharing her story at our 2015 Aligning Quality and Value Forum, and on Capitol Hill, during a legislative briefing in honor of the 2015 Sickle Cell Awareness Month. This December 2016, Ines will speak to physicians at an American Society of Hematology (ASH) event.