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Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- Hidea Smith, 17, just returned home after spending six months in St. Louis, and she is so happy to be back.

'I was getting very tired of St. Louis, and I was missing my food,' Hidea said. She said she had 'a po-boy and some Manchu Chicken' as soon as she got home.

Hidea is starting a new life thanks to a bone marrow transplant that cured her sickle cell anemia.

'I say it's a miracle. Even with the sickle cell, I have somebody else's marrow in me,' said Hidea. 'It just makes you better.'

'A miracle, happiness, a new life,' said her mother, Philomenia Johnson. 'Now she has a new life to start all over, free of pain.'

When we met her 13 months ago, she was in the hospital in pain.

'Sometimes it feels like like a shocking feeling, like you've been electrocuted in your arm or something,' Hidea said then. 'It hurts a lot.'

Her mother's pictures from the hospital document the months in St. Louis preparing for the transplant and then waiting to make sure it was successful.

Hidea kept her spirits up.

'She worked very hard and she did her exercises. She ate what she was supposed to eat. She took her medication,' said Philomenia.

And she even joked about losing her hair.

'Good, a relief, now I don't have to wash any hair,' Hidea said, laughing.

Hidea's donor came from Be The Match, which is run by the National Marrow Donor Program. They're looking for more people to register as potential donors, because there are so many other patients who urgently need bone marrow transplants.

'I would like to see a lot of people register so they can make other kids like me that have sickle cell, their lives better,' said Hidea.

Hidea's donor made it possible for her to go back to school as a normal student, pain free.

For information about registering as a potential bone marrow donor, visit their website.

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