Mariah, a 2022 Children’s Miracle Network patient ambassador, is a cheerful 11-year-old with a contagious smile who loves making Tik Tok videos, dancing and singing along to her favorite songs. After almost weekly trips to the emergency room due to spiking fevers, at 4 months old Mariah was given the official diagnosis of sickle cell disease — a genetic disease that alters the shape of the body’s red blood cells, causing them to become sticky and trapped in the body’s blood vessels. Through the years, Mariah has been a frequent visitor to St. Louis Children’s because of fevers, viral infections and pain. Initially her stays would be short — just a few days — but as she’s gotten older the visits have gotten longer, due to an increase in the pain and stress the disease is putting on her body. Mariah is taking ownership in managing her disease thanks to education from her medical team at St. Louis Children’s.