George Carter and James Frazier II have beaten the odds. Both Richmond men are living with sickle cell disease.
The genetic blood disorder proves fatal for most people before they reach the age of 50.
Frazier is now 60. Carter is 77.
Carter remembers when his crisis began at the age of five. He was walking to the bus with his guardian.
Both men, and sickle cell experts, offered some advice to those living with the disease that could lead to a longer, healthier life:
Eat healthy foods
Have a balanced diet
Drink plenty of water
Exercise to build up your muscles and bones
Drink alcohol in moderation
Get plenty of rest each night
Avoid stress whenever possible
They also urged people to know their sickle cell status. In Virginia alone, the Health Department estimates that 2,500 to 4,500 African American residents have sickle cell disease.
Virginia added hemoglobinopathies screening, which tests for blood disorders, to its newborn testing in July 1989.