Living With Sickle Cell Disease – André Marcel Harris, MSW

“I’m 32 years old and have lived with sickle cell disease my entire life. Because it’s a genetic disease and I was born with it, it really becomes part of your way of life. I’ve tried to live a normal life as much as possible.

I had a stroke at 2 years old and after that, I was receiving at least a unit of blood every month to prevent more from happening. If I was in a crisis, I would sometimes need even more blood and be admitted into the hospital. I’ve had countless blood transfusions, and without them, I know for a fact I would not be here today.

I guess you could say I’ve been a professional sickle cell advocate for the past several years. Sickle cell is what I call the invisible disease. You can tell people, ‘Oh, I’m in so much pain,’ but you can’t totally see it.