Jordin Sparks Raising Sickle Cell Awareness After Death Of Step Sister

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Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks buried her 16 year old step sister Bryanna Jackson-Frias earlier this week, after her battle with sickle cell anemia.  Now the family is focused on finding a cure for the disease.

In an interview with PEOPLE, Jordin Sparks shared that her sister fought the disease her entire life.

“She fought her entire life — all 16 years, in and out of hospitals. And she was so strong,” Sparks, told . “She just dealt with it, you know, and there was never a complaint. I’m sure she had moments where she was like, ‘Okay, this hurts,’ but she was one of the strongest people that I’ve ever encountered.”

Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks Instagram
 As they mourn their loss, the family is also focused on making one of Bryanna’s dreams come true….to raise awareness and find a cure for the disease.

They’ve set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for sickle cell research in honor of Bryanna, who was laid to rest Monday.

“Her dream was to raise awareness and to find a cure for it,” says Sparks. “People know about sickle cell, but they don’t know how rampant it is or how many people are affected by it. It kills 100,000 people a year, so Why aren’t we talking about this more?”

Adds Sparks: “We’re just trying to raise as much as we can to help find a cure so nobody else has to go through this.”

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