Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited red blood cell disorder in which there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Round red blood cells move easily through blood vessels. In sickle cell anaemia, the red blood cells are shaped like sickles or crescent moons which can slow or block blood flow. There is no cure for most people with sickle cell anaemia. Signs of sickle cell vary from person to person and change over time. Signs and symptoms include anaemia, episodes of pain, swelling of hands and feet, vision problems, yellow tint to the skin or whites of the eyes and so on. Sickle cell anaemia can lead to a host of complications including stroke, acute chest syndrome, pulmonary hypertension, organ damage, blindness, gall stones, leg ulcers, priapism, pregnancy complications and so on.
A couple of years ago, Ufoma underwent a procedure that changed her life. She was born with the SS genotype. Ever grateful to be born in Canada, Ufoma is also aware of the millions who do not have the opportunity she had. She recommends that people should get tested as soon as they begin dating.
Ufoma is an exceptional African Canadian youth and the founder of Not Just You – a support group for sickle cell sufferers. An undergraduate at the University of Alberta, Ufoma hopes to become a doctor who specialises in haematology. Her work at Notjustyou is advisory and advocacy. Many sufferers often feel they are the only ones suffering. She strives to educate the general public that sickle cell anaemia is not a curse and there can be hope through the darkness.
Sickle cell Anemia is a serious illness that affects more than 100 million people worldwide. It affects 8 to 10 % of African Americans. It also affects Hispanics, South Asians, Caucasians from Southern Europe and people from Middle Eastern countries.
Please watch the interview to learn more about her story and how you can support NotJustYou.ca.