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community advocates

Marqus Valentine

Community Advocate
Sick Cells
Chicago, Illinois, United States

Marqus Valentine is a Co-Founder of Sick Cells. Diagnosed with sickle cell anemia Hgb ss at 6 months, he has had a tough time managing the disease. As a child, he spent countless weeks hospitalized. He repeated grades because he missed so much school and was even granted a trip to Disney World by Children’s Hopes and Dreams because he was given a life expectancy of 10 years.

As most people with SCD do, Marqus persevered. He started chronic blood transfusions at a young age and resumed a childhood outside of the hospital. His parents worked tirelessly to ensure he could participate in activities despite sickle cell. When he wanted to swim, they bought him a wet suit so the water wouldn’t put him in crisis. When he had to get nightly infusion treatments to prevent iron overload, they turned the needle sticking process into a family game.

Marqus never let sickle cell get in the way of his dreams of making films and graphic novels. While pursuing a film degree at a community college, Marqus discovered that he could reach a wider audience to educate about his condition through film, storytelling, and openly sharing his life with sickle cell disease. He put his degree on hold due to SCD complications. Along with working on Sick Cells, he is working on a graphic novel called Union. He spends a great amount of time being imaginative with his nephew, Kaleb, and strives to use this imagination to advocate for SCD.

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