Today, June 19th, is World Sickle Cell Awareness Day.
From Tionne "T- Boz" Watkins, a singer in the girl group TLC, to Prodigy, a rapper and former member of the hip-hop duo, Mobb Deep, there are over 2 million sickle cell patients in the United States.
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a red blood cell disorder that changes the shape of the red blood cells. The cells are supposed to be disc-shaped, but SCD changes them into a crescent, or sickle, shape. The sickle-shaped cells can stick to vessel walls, causing blockages that can slow or completely stop the flow of blood.
1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with the sickle cell trait (SCT) and sickle cell disease (SCD) affects approximately 8 percent of African-Americans.
Although the narrative of sickle cell anemia is often accompanied by sympathy and heartbreaking images, three strong women, who are a part of the Sikcell Twitter Community, are seeking to change the narrative by sharing their stories. With The Warrior Series, photographer Bukky Adeyokunnu wants to show the world that they are warriors, not victims to their disease.
They are more than a statistic. Check out their stories of truth and triumph below.
"Being born with Sickle Cell Anemia has its ups and downs. This disease has humbled me, and through that humility, I've developed a better spiritual relationship with God. My image represents a fighter who wins. Yes, I may fail and go through pain, but during those times, I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I fight through it, refusing to stay stagnant, and walking equipped with the full armor of God. He never said that we will not go through pain, but rather He will be with during rough times (Isaiah 41:10) This picture represents me being an individual born with Sickle Cell Anemia, fighting, and winning!" - Beatrice Adinlewa, MBA. Owner of Bee Hollywood Studio, LLC