Evie Junior’s life has been defined by pain. He was born with sickle cell disease, which causes red blood cells to be sticky and C-shaped, not smooth and round. These cells are supposed to move freely through blood vessels, carrying oxygen to the body. But in people with this inherited form of anemia, they clump together and block blood flow. This triggers excruciating episodes known as pain crises, which can happen anywhere in the body and last for hours or even weeks. The disease damages organs over time and can cause strokes and early death.