Scorching August and Updates from Sick Cells!
August has definitely been a hot one, but it hasn’t slowed Team Sick Cells down! In preparation for September, Sickle Cell Awareness month, the team spent time with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Sickle Cell support group.  The team had interviews and a photo shoot with some of its members. 

Sick Cells also spent the month prepping for its DC debut at the Stomp out Sickle Cell Walk, September 10th.  Online registration is closed, but if you're in town, you can register on-site, at the walk.  Be sure to stop by and say Hi!

This month, we'll highlight some stories from UIC's sickle cell warriors.  But first...
A Minute with Marqus
Marqus during his nine-hour blood transfusion
August was a decent month for me.  My blood counts dropped though, so my hematologist sent me to get a blood transfusion.  Usually before I get the blood, I slow down and feel tired. My response time, when talking, is super delayed. My energy, just all of it, is gone. Right after the transfusions, I feel a little sick, but it takes 4-5 days for all my systems to slowly start to come alive. Once my blood counts go back up, I get a really big energy burst.

This transfusion, I got two units of blood and spent about nine-hour watching the Olympics.  With all the infection and hospitalizations this past year, I lost my port-a-cath.  I have to get IVs now.  I’ve always been considered a "hard stick," all the way up to the point where I needed to get an IV in my foot before.  The hospital knows that I'm a hard stick, so they always send in the best nurse or phlebotomist to start an IV.  This time, it took them 11 needle sticks before they could start an IV.  It was no fun.  In the end, we got one IV to stay, then nobody was allowed near that arm until the transfusion was over.  

Fortunately, my local hospital has an outpatient infusion center.  It's wonderful because it keeps me from having to be admitted for 24-hours. It's a cancer center and was recently revamped. In the summer, when it’s nice out, you can get treatment outside. They also have people come in and play piano or guitar. It’s pretty zen. You don’t feel like you’re in a hospital setting, which is nice because we're there all day.  The place has really made my care easier.  
Ashley giving a presentation about the Sick Cells project.  Bonnye Johnson, who leads the UIC support groups is next to her. 

Sick Cell's Visit to UIC

On August 25th, the Sick Cells team went down to UIC for interviews and a photo shoot.  Sick Cells has been developing photo series as a way to spread awareness about sickle cell disease (SCD). Through sharing the voices of people who are affected by SCD, the team hopes to put a human face on a common, yet misunderstood disease. 
Kelly Cieplak interviews Jaleesa M. Langston, who has sickle cell trait and cares for her mother who has sickle cell anemia. 
Sick Cells recorded snippets of each individual's story with SCD as a way to show and tell just how resilient the community is. We'd like to give a huge thanks to Beverly Chukwudozie, Kelvin Myrick, Terrance Hill, Murtula Lawal, Jaleesa M. Langston, Renetta Dancy, Jackie Norwood, Iman Al-Nurridin, George E. Gaddy, Dennis McCullum, and Bonnye Johnson for candidly sharing their sickle cell stories with us. 
Dennis McCullum shares some of his SCD life experiences with, volunteer, Michelle Wesley. 
Jackie Norwood, who has sickle cell anemia,  just turned 51 and celebrated a birthday during the support group.  Happy Birthday, Jackie! 
The team would also like thank Meaghan Cohen (snazzy photographer) for snapping beautiful images at the event.  We'd like to thank Michelle Wesley, Kelly Cieplak, and Kelly Hawthorne for their skills as interviewers.  
George Gaddy  discusses support systems with Marqus.
September is Sickle Cell Awareness month.  Sick Cells is going to release pictures weekly from our interviews at UIC.  Keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the final photos and interview excerpts.   
Copyright © 2016 Sick Cells Documentary, All rights reserved.

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