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Today’s Faces of Sickle Cell Disease: Marqus Valentine

When Marqus Valentine went to junior college, he serendipitously took a film class, fell in love with the medium, and decided to use it to document his daily struggles with SCD, which have been lifelong. He posted his musings online and eventually turned them into a mini-documentary. It was his way of honoring the many friends he’d lost to the illness—and it led to his co-founding, with his sister Ashley Valentine, of Sick Cells. It is an organization that encourages the sickle cell community to influence public policy and awareness by sharing their own stories.

Marqus Valentine’s dedication has grown—he personally appeared before a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel to lobby for sickle cell drug development, and last year made a successful pitch for approval of the drug Endari (L-glutamine oral powder).