The disease impacts between 90,000 to 100,000 Americans and African Americans make up roughly 70,000 of those cases.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At 28 years old, Vanessa Baffour-Singletary balances life as a wife, mother and a career in educational policy.
But she has a battle to fight every day: sickle cell anemia.
“There are days when I feel fine and then all of a sudden pain would hit,” Baffour-Singletary said. “It feels like someone is hammering on your body in different places. Our pain is invisible. Sometimes people do not believe us.”
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic blood disease. For those like Baffour-Singletary who have it, their red blood cells do not form into a disc shape. Instead, they are crescent-shaped and can cause significant pain and organs to fail, among other ailments.
“For me, it is in a lot of my joints,” Baffour-Singletary said. “So, the blood is not flowing to my joints. I have a hip replacement. I take my medication. There are some chemotherapy drugs that I am able to take.”