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HUNTERSVILLE, NC (WBTV) - As the country pauses to celebrate Fathers' Day, one father is grateful to be alive. Howard Estell was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease at the age of 5. He thought by now the disease would have take him out. But it didn't.
"It's kind of difficult," Estell said. "Cause of over exerting myself, several pain crisis. I have a weaker immune system than the average person."
Estell is a stay at home father. He takes care of his three daughters by day.
"I cook and clean," the father said. "I do whatever I can to help my wife so she feels supported why she supports me for my future endeavors."
And he attends Johnson C. Smith University by night. He is pursuing his passion. He has one degree, but he says that didn't excite him. That's why the father is now pursuing a degree in social work.
Despite his up and downs of his disease, he is convinces he is called to listen to other people's problems and assist them.
"It was a field that was designed for helping people - helping others," Estell said. "I felt that represents me at the core of who I am."
The father said his wife inspired him to pursue his passion. She is a teacher.
"Looking at her passion she has had for her work," Estell said. "Her career has truly inspired me to seek my own passion."
Estell is looking forward to Father's day, not for the gifts but for the time he gets to spend with his family.
"When you have a life threatening illness," Estell said. "It gives you a different perspective. Major holidays, Father's day really just says so much, 'cause you never know how long we are going to be here. No matter if you are fully healthy or battling an illness, just to have another crack at it - is a blessing."