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Q & A With Andre Marcel Harris

Q: When were you diagnosed with sickle cell disease?

A: Sickle Cell Disease is a genetic blood disorder, so I, like many patients, was diagnosed via amniocentesis (a prenatal medical test that can diagnose certain genetic conditions) during my mother’s pregnancy. Both of my parents were unaware of their sickle cell trait status until they were pregnant with me. This fuels my passion for helping people become cognizant of their sickle cell trait status so that, when family planning begins, they are fully informed of health risks.

Q: Where did you grow up and how did your family help you to manage your condition?

A: I am originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, but I was raised in Union City, Georgia, and Fayetteville, North Carolina. My family is great when it comes to helping manage my disease. My mother cared for me exceptionally well, and she also let me know that I can do anything anyone else can. I never had the notion growing up that I couldn’t do something because of my condition; I just knew that my disease may slow me down from accomplishing it in the time others would. My mother allowed me to do what most other kids did, and I would often forget that I even had sickle cell until I got sick.

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