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Kyriako Damavoletes Talks about the Stigma of Sickle Cell Disease

Kyriako Damavoletes has HbS beta thalassemia. This means he received a HbS gene from one parent and a beta thalassemia gene from the other. Both Damavoletes and his younger sister have HbS beta thal. He knew he was different by about age 4 or 5, but it wasn’t until middle school that he truly understood the impact the disease would have on his life.

“At about age 12 or 13, I realized this disease would carry a lot of weight in my life. I saw my older siblings driving and getting ready for college. I thought to myself, ‘Am I going to be able to get a license, go to college, have a job? Like everyone else?’ I just wanted to have the chance others had.”

All grown up now, with an education and license to drive, Damavoletes works in the field of information technology.