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MCKINNEY - One North Texas family is in the midst of a life-changing challenge that has one sister giving to save the life of another.

Sherrie Poates suffers from sickle cell anemia, an inherited disease that alters the shape of red blood cells.It affects more than 30,000 Texas families.On average, 200 newborns test positive each year in Texas. Eighty-eight percent of those who test positive are African American.

However, her story isn't about suffering; it's about receiving two very special gifts that can only come from a sister.

Diamond and Sherrie have four other sisters, but the two share a special bond. Diamond, 19, helped save Sherrie's life by donating bone marrow to her.

We re like already so close, Sherrie said. She and I are the closest in age.So, that's what kind of makes it so special together.We're just always together.

Sherrie, 21, was born with sickle cell anemia.She has been in and out of hospitals her entire life.The bone marrow transplant she received in 2002 helped relieve the anemia, but she developed new complications.Her kidneys are failing. Now, she needs a kidney transplant to survive.

She's too young, Diamond said. She hasn't really had a full life.

All five of Sherrie's sisters were tested to determine if their kidneys would be compatible, but only one of them was a match, Diamond.

I didn't want her to do this in the beginning, but she said, 'You're taking this; you don't have a choice.This is my kidney.This is my gift and you're taking it,' Sherrie said.

For Diamond, the opportunity to donate bone marrow and a kidney to someone she loves so much is a blessing.

I just want to help her, Diamond said.

For Sherrie, it's life-saving.

God blessed me with an amazing sister and an amazing best friend, she said.

Sherrie endures dialysis three times a week.The transplant surgery hasn't been scheduled yet, but likely will be in the next few months.
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