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Daughter of NFL Star Diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia: ‘I Wanted To Raise Awareness’

Photo from Tevin Coleman’s Instagram

Daughter of NFL Star Diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia: ‘I Wanted To Raise Awareness’

By Movieguide® Contributor

NFL star Tevin Coleman recently shared details about his daughter’s sickle cell anemia and how he and his wife plan to be advocates for those with the condition. 

Coleman and his wife Akilah welcomed their twins, Nazaneen and Nezerah, in 2017. Shortly after, they were told Nazaneen had sickle cell. 

“I knew something was up,” Akilah shared. “My son, they knew he didn’t have it but pretty instantly, with my daughter, we had to go back and do a couple of different tests because they knew that there was something going on. It was confirmed around four months.”

Both Coleman and Akilah knew they were carriers for the sickle cell gene, and Coleman began experiencing symptoms of the condition while he was in college. 

The couple initially decided to keep the diagnosis quiet, but now that the twins are 5, the Colemans thought it was time to show Nazaneen her sickle cell is nothing to be ashamed of. 

“Now that she’s getting older and she’s learning and understanding that she has sickle cell, I wanted to talk about it and just raise awareness,” the football player explained.

Akilah added, “She’s only 5, so we haven’t gotten to the point where I actually explained to her what her body is going through, but I have let her know that it’s just really important to always tell Mommy — whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re going through, tell Mommy. Let’s talk about it. Don’t be scared to tell me if you’re in pain, so I can help you.”

The couple talked about what they do to keep Nazaneen healthy, from keeping her warm and hydrated, to having her stay home when the temperature goes below 50 degrees. 

“I want her to be able to identify what she’s feeling, but I also want to protect her, in a sense, in her childhood,” Akilah shared. “I want her to be able to vocalize what she’s feeling without being scared.”

The Colemans also want to advocate for those who are suffering from the same condition, especially for Black families.  

“One of the big things that we discussed prior to coming forward was how Tevin wanted the community to have a face for sickle cell and then to know that there’s someone out there that relates to them and understands them, because sickle cell is worldwide,” Akilah said.

“People reaching out to me on social media, telling me their story, and I’ll message them back. And they’re surprised, like ‘I never thought I’d get a message back from you.’ But that’s why I’m doing this, I’m here to help,” Tevin added. “I’m just giving them my light, sharing my situation, my story and giving them hope.”