LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - One Lufkin ISD school is getting ready for a blood drive, but this one holds a sentimental purpose. It's in honor of one of their very own fourth graders fighting sickle cell disease.
The heart-warming dimpled smile belongs to nine-year-old Mya Cartwright. She has a love for singing and aspirations of being a doctor.
"She's an angel...an angel that God has sent to us," said Travis Cartwright, her father.
Falunda and Travis's angel, Mya, was born with sickle cell disease, a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that can be fatal.
"I always had the trait when I was younger, and Dad never knew he had the trait," said Falunda Cartwright, Mya's mother.
Spending several days at Texas Children's Hospital for blood transfusions has become routine for Mya.
"My doctor comes, and then we go in the transfusion room, and sit and wait for my blood," Mya said.
"When they tell you something like that, I'm the type that won't react then. Later, it sinks in," Falunda said.
As does the severity of the disease that's only cure has a 50 percent survival rate.
"Her being poked with those needles and the thought of losing her," is what Travis said makes him emotional at hospital visits. "She makes me strong."
"This is the only time I break down when I talk about it. The part where there is only one cure," Falunda said.
Mya sings and records songs about her love for her parents. The strength of their bond makes their tears of pain infectious.
"We pray that one day they come up with something that will cure her disease," Travis said.
The Cartwright's are overwhelmed by the support of the school.
"It feels good. I wouldn't have missed this for anything. It lets me know that they care about Mya," Travis said.
For now, they all share the same wish.
"Take this disease from my baby," Travis said.
If you're interested in donating blood to Mya, you can do so on Monday, January 25th starting at 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at Anderson Elementary school.