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Saturday, April 13, 2024

17-year-old boy beats sickle cell disease, graduates US high school with 4.62GPA, earns acceptance to Harvard University

A 17-year-old boy named Hanif Mouehla who battled with sickle cell while he was still a child has beaten all odds to survive. He graduated from Northern Valley Regional High School in the United States with 4.62 grade points.

Hanif is a New Jersey teen who fought hard to survive a deadly disease that almost claimed his life. He was diagnosed with Sickle cell at the age of 8 which caused him a serious health crisis according to People.

He said he was admitted to the intensive care unit of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Westchester County, New York adding that that his condition got so worse that the doctors had to put him in a coma after the illness caused both of his lungs to collapse.

“I had my worst pain crisis in my life where I had a 20% chance of surviving,” Hanif said. For six weeks, the cause of his pain was uncertain, and the doctors doubted that he would survive.

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However, Hanif fought back and survived the battle through an experimental stem cell transplant. He shared how the experimental stem cell transplant not only saved his life but also gave him a purpose online.

Hanif mentioned that his survival has also motivated him to pursue a career in medicine. “Watching the medical center as a whole, that was something I really wanted to emulate and caused me to want to choose medicine, specifically being a hematologist,” he said.

He now works with the pediatric hematologist-oncologist, Dr. Mitchell Cairo, who treated him during his sickle-cell battle. Dr. Mitchell said Hanif being free of sickle cell and living a healthy life makes him happy.

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“It’s kind of an indescribable feeling because, on top of seeing somebody sort of just resume their normal life, they’re now kicking in the high gear and taking on additional stress to make a difference for the next generation,” Dr Mitchell said.

Hanif joined Dr, Mitchell in the research lab with a common desire to find a treatment for sickle cell, an inherited blood disorder that affects over a billion people worldwide.

Hanif’s sickle cell was cured through a familial haploidentical stem cell transplant from his mother, Khuraira Musa, years ago, as a result of Dr. Mitchell’s research because none of his siblings were compatible donors.

”To make sure that Khuraira’s cells could eliminate the sickle cells in Hanif’s bloodstream, the cells were supercharged in Dr. Mitchell’s lab. ”it was a wonderful journey. And for me as a parent, I only wish all parents to have what I have with Hanif today,” Hanif’s mother expressed.

Hanif said his desire to pursue a career in medicine was inspired by his life-threatening experience and he has diligently worked to realize his dream in the years since his transplant and recovery.

He excelled academically at Northern Valley Regional High School with a 4.62 grade point average, where he also held the position of class president and participated in football. Hanif’s outstanding performance earned him an acceptance into the Harvard University Class of 2027.

Hanif is currently a first-year undergraduate at Harvard University studying for a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience focusing on Neurobiology with a minor in Global Health and Health Policy.

He stated on his Linkedin that since being cured of sickle cell anemia as a child, he became determined to impact the healthcare industry, growing and developing life science research and biopharmaceutical laboratory skills. 

Hanif said he started the pre-professional experience in 2022, interning as a junior researcher and laboratory volunteer at New York Medical College and adjoined with Westchester Medical Center of Valhalla, New York.

 

 

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