Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) She’s a Summit City girl who likes dancing and playing UNO and she thanks doctors At Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis for saving her life. She developed pneumonia in January and suffered life-threatening complications because she has Sickle Cell, a blood disorder.
“I played with instruments. I played with dolls. I played with stuffies,” Jazzy told WANE 15’s Terra Brantley as she reflected on her hospital stay. “I read books, I colored, I played a game with my dad.”

“We were at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne for about two weeks,” said Jazzy’s dad Micquail Kizer. “We just thought that she had strep throat or something. Doctors were trying to figure out what was going on and they found out she had pneumonia. She has Sickle Cell so her immune system wasn’t able to fight it off because of the sickle cell.”

“Sickle Cell disease is a blood disorder and it can affect anyone of any race, ethnicity, nationality,” said Gary Gibson, President and CEO of Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative in Indianapolis.

Sickle cell causes your body to produce abnormally shaped red blood cells that can obstruct normal blood flow and limit the blood cells ability to carry oxygen. In Jazzy’s case Sickle Cell complicated her pneumonia. “I had to let everything go and pretty much depend on God,” said Kizer. “And when it hits my only child it’s like… really? So they had to send her to Riley Hospital to put her on an ECMO machine.”

“It took us a little while because she needed special blood,” said Gail Hocutt, the Riley Hospital nurse who cared for Jazzy. “So hours after she came here we placed her on ECMO and at that point in time she was completely sedated and paralyzed because she was so incredibly sick.”

“ECMO is Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. That’s what it stands for and it’s essentially blood outside of the body. By taking blood outside of the body we run it through a machine that actually does the gas exchange that your lungs would do so for her we were doing the work of her lungs,” explained Hocutt.

“So there’s a cannula which is the mode that we do the blood exchange through that goes in through a vein in their right neck and it sits in the heart chamber.”

“I had one tear,” said Jazzy. “And I didn’t cry when I got shots.”

“She healed so well,” said Hocutt. “She was dancing around her room. I mean that’s what helps us and inspires us to do the work that we do. Not every patient that we put on ECMO survives and they’re the sickest of the sick and we know that. We love the success stories and to watch a little girl smile and dance around the room and that she’s going to go on and do wonderful things and have a great life.”

Jazzy said that great life includes lots of fun and games. When returns to Franke Park Elementary in August as a third grader, she’ll still have Sickle Cell. Researchers are working on a cure, but her pneumonia is gone. Kizer thinks Jazzy’s spunk and spirit will offer others hope and inspiration.

“It was just a test of faith you know, just to see how God works,” said Kizer. “You see miracles everyday. So now I have my own little miracle. She was on life support for 19 days.”

Effective July 1st, Indiana has a law to provide more help to thousands who suffer from Sickle Cell. The Indiana State Department of Health is going to expand Sickle Cell care to Indiana’s underserved areas. Ultimately the Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative in Indianapolis hopes to establish a Sickle Cell Center in Fort Wayne and Gary.

Jazzy Kizer is also featured on the Riley Children’s Health Facebook page.