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CAMEROON: Let’s Talk about Sickle Cell Disease

That day in the hospital, my intuition was confirmed: A few minutes after I met the man in the waiting room, a nurse called me into a room to comfort him. My frequent trips to this particular hospital have made me a ‘celebrity patient,’ and at that moment, they needed someone to motivate the young man who I learned also struggles with SCD.

As I began to share comforting words, I noticed a few things that disturbed me. This man was alone and almost penniless; I was told he had a serious health issue that was only aggravated by sickle cell.

That day, I had entered the hospital with complications from my own diagnosis, but my issues were nothing compared to his. Learning of his struggles reminded me of the phrase, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a person without legs.” Sickle cell is painful and financially draining for anyone, but this man’s story particularly moved me.