DETROIT, MI (WXYZ) — It only took 16-year-old Reem Siddiqui three months to raise $12,000 for kids in the Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
"We were not expecting to collect as much money as we did," Reem said.
The money is being used towards transportation because for many metro Detroit families, getting to and from appointments is a challenge.
"When I was younger and had a day off from school because of a snow day or just a day off, I would often go with my mom to work," she said. "And I would notice some of her patients missing appointments because they couldn't find transportation to come there."
Reem's mom, Rana Khatib, is a pediatrician at the Sickle Cell Disease Clinic. She says it's not uncommon for her patients to miss some life-saving appointments.
"We have a high no-show rate," she said. "A lot of it has to do with transportation."
While insurance does provide transportation options for patients, Rana says it is not reliable.
Some of her patients end up taking public transportation which adds hours to their day. Plus, the cold weather may also lead to further health issues for these sickle cell patients.
"So that can lead to unpredictable pain, anemia, infection," Lashawnda Greenwood, a clinic social worker in the SDC unit, said.
She says SCD Clinic sees about 700 kids annually. Some have to come in twice a year while others have to come in as often as once a month.
"And missing one of those appointments could really affect their health," Reem said.
According to Rana, missed appointments can lead to a high risk of stroke, an issue no kid should have to deal with.
"You know, kids need constant medical attention," she said.
With the $12,000 donation, Reem will be able to provide 400 patients round trips to and from the hospital.
"So this is a huge deal. The grant is strictly for them. We don't have to share it with other clinics," Lashawnda Greenwood said.
Reem is hoping to continue to raise money for the clinic year-round.
She created a website called MiCaringHeart where people can donate and learn moreabout the SDC Clinic and their patients.
"This is something our clinic needed. Our patients needed," Rana said. "So as a physician that takes care of patients with sickle cell I couldn't be happier. As a mother, I couldn't be prouder. And I'm happy that those visits that were seemingly innocent weren't a waste."