STORY BY AUGUSTA ROBINSON | PHOTO BY SARAH A. MILLER | Small Town Kids Jan-Mar 2017
Looking at 14-year-old Destiny Williams’ smile, one might never suspect she sometimes experiences aches and pains so severe they put her in the hospital.
Destiny, of Tyler, was born with sickle cell disease, an inherited, chronic, incurable condition that results in red blood cells becoming misshapen and breaking down in the body.
When Destiny was 6-months-old, her temperature spiked to 104, and she had to be hospitalized for aplastic crisis – which caused a temporary stop in her red blood cell production. She still suffers from pain that causes her arms, legs and hips to hurt.
This past summer, she was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, a degenerative complication of her disease.
But through all of her struggles, those around her say she always manages to stay positive.
“Destiny is always, even in her most miserable times of pain, patient. … She is a very kind-hearted person to take care of,” said Dr. Paul Pitts, Destiny’s pediatrician at Christus Trinity Clinic. “What I really admire about her is her ability to stick with it and ride through it and see the bigger picture.”
Destiny is the 2017 Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Child, who had the important task of lighting the city of Tyler’s Christmas tree in December.
Children’s Miracle Network is a nonprofit organization that raises money to provide treatment to children with illnesses at its 170 partner hospitals, of which Christus Trinity Mother Frances is one. Money raised toward the network stays local and provides healthcare services to local kids.
Despite obstacles, Destiny makes As and Bs at Cumberland Academy High School, sings in the choir at her school and is in the praise dance team at her church. She also an is avid reader and enjoys sign language and other activities.
Sonia Williams, Destiny’s mother, said her daughter often encourages her and those around her to look on the bright side. Throughout Destiny’s illness, Mrs. Williams said her daughter has remained positive.
She has handled it extremely well,” Mrs. Williams said. “She just has an overall good spirit.”
Destiny, who said she hopes to one day attend college and become a physical therapist, said she is honored to be the 2017 Miracle Child and hopes her story is able to encourage others.
“No matter what you go through, you can always do what you want to in life,” she said. “Dream big.”