Every month we want to feature a Sickle Cell Warrior and their story. If you want to tell your story please contact us! Remember you are not alone, and we are here to bridge the gap.
BTG is honored to have Mercedes in our Support Group. She is an amazing and strong Young woman and her son is a handsome young man who has her strength already.
Diagnosis: Sickle Cell Anemia
Group: Bridging The Gap
I was born in Lagos, Nigeria where I was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) at the age of 2 after having my first crisis. While in Nigeria, my family did well in managing my health with a combination of western and homeopathic treatments. At the age of 7, my family and I moved to Reno, Nevada in the USA. Unknown to us at the time, the high elevation and weather changes would have a very negative effect on my health and would immediately trigger a severe SCD crisis placing me in a life and death situation. Being in Reno, the healthcare professionals were unfamiliar with my diagnosis and how to treat it. They informed my parents to begin making funeral arrangements. Being the faithful Christians they were, my parents refused to give up hope even at a time when the medical professionals had. After continued prayers, a new doctor volunteered to take on my case. Dr. Kathleen Christopherson was open with my parents on her lack of knowledge regarding Sickle Cell Disease, but assured them that she would learn in order to save their son. She was true to her word. Though it would not be my last near death experience, that first memorable experience was the one that would shape and direct my future aspirations. The whole ordeal, and Dr. Christopherson, created such a positive experience for me that I decided I would grow up to work in healthcare, specifically in a hospital. Now at 34, though I have experienced 4 near death crises due to my Sickle Cell, I have also become stronger because of them. I now work as a hospital case manager. I carry the faith of my parents and the determination of Dr. Christopherson to work with me daily in order to help others and their families during their own times of need and uncertainty even as times change and the world now battles with a new healthcare crisis and pandemic. I will continue to use my knowledge and experience both as a patient and a healthcare professional to help others. It has become even more of a passion to be specifically able to help others with my same diagnosis. This is why I joined Bridging The Gap and continue to advocate for other SCD patients. I have come to understand that although I have been given a diagnosis, that diagnosis does not, should not, and will not define or limit me in this life. It is my prayer that I will be blessed enough to help other SCD patients understand the same.