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  1. Sickle Cell Warrior and Member of Mobb Deep, Prodigy Passes Away at 42

    June 27, 2017 by Andrea
    Photo: Instagram/@prodigymobbdeep

    Photo: Instagram/@prodigymobbdeep

    Last Tuesday (June 20), eerily enough just one day after World Sickle Cell Day, Prodigy of the famous hip-hop duo Mobb Deep made his transition. Only 42 years old, the rapper was on tour in Las Vegas where he died from complications of sickle cell disease -- a condition he was always very open about.

    In fact, in his 2011 memoir, My Infamous Life, Prodigy detailed his struggles with the disease, at one point discussing a close call he had while on tour in India. "Ten hours into the eighteen-hour flight, my sickle cell pain crept up. By the time we landed in Bombay, I was in bad shape," he begins. "Slowly I felt the sickle cells accumulating and spreading throughout my body. Then I felt something I never felt before -- the sickle cells moving to my heart. It was time to put in an emergency call to the Most High."

    His memoir wasn't the only place Prodigy used to relay his battle with SCD. He also communicated what he was going through and how he was coping through his lyrics and via interviews. Here are a few things he had to say on living life and overcoming hardships:

    "Until my death, my goal's to stay alive. Survival of the fit, only the strong survive." -Survival of the Fittest, Mobb Deep

    "My life before hip-hop was just pain. Sickle cell was my life before hip-hop. I ain't really have no life -- that was it. I'm growing up, that's all I know, just being in a ... hospital all the time. And then music ... The aggressiveness of it attracted me to hip-hop because I was angry inside. I was an angry kid because of sickle cell ... [hip-hop] helped me get my aggression out." - interview with NPR, 2013

    "I was born with pain. My moms and my pops passed it down to me ... I'm talkin' 'bout permanent, physical suffering. You know nothin' about that, you just complain 'cause you stressed. My pain's in the flesh, and through the years that pain became my friend; sedated with morphine as a little kid. I built a tolerance for drugs ... Now hospital emergency treat me like a fiend ... Beggin' God for help ... Naw, you can never feel my pain." - You Can Never Feel My Pain, Prodigy 

    "I love to promote good health and certain things that you're supposed to be doin' with your diet because I want other people with sickle cell to learn how I live ... Hopefully, I can inspire other people with sickle cell to get their stuff together and get out there and do what they gotta do. Don't let it hold you back." - DJ Booth interview, 2008

    Have a favorite lyric or quote from Prodigy/Mobb Deep that's not listed here? Share it in the comments below.

  2. World Sickle Cell Day and Beyond: Creative Ways to Raise Awareness

    June 19, 2017 by Andrea
    Photo: CreateHER Stock

    Photo: CreateHER Stock

    World Sickle Cell Day (and also Juneteenth) is here again, and like every year, people come up with various ways of celebrating and raising awareness. Some wear red, some host workshops, and most get active on social media -- sharing how they've chosen to observe the day. See below for a few of our favorite out-of-the-box ideas:

    A Sweet Salute
    They say the way to a person's heart is through their stomach. That's why some warriors and supporters have chosen to educate their communities via baked goodies like these. Like this idea? Check out other options here and here.

    Sickle Cell Series
    As a journalist and filmmaker, Wana Udobang helps raise awareness through the stories she tells. For World Sickle Cell Day, she's created a series called "Warriors," which features four video interviews of people living with SCD. Watch the first video below.

    Inspiring Images
    Across the pond in London at the University College Hospital MacMillan Cancer Centre, "Seeing Red" -- an exhibition of photos taken by sickle cell warriors -- debuts today. According to UCLH, the photography is the culmination of the work the warriors did during narrative therapy pilot workshops.

    Have you seen any other creative ways to spread the word about sickle cell? Share them in the comments below!

  3. 4 Tips That Make Managing Sickle Cell at College Simpler Than You Thought

    June 13, 2017 by Andrea


    Going away to college can already be stressful enough -- new place, new people, new classes -- but managing your sickle cell while you're there doesn't have to be. With the tips below, living with SCD away from home won't be as complicated as you may have thought:

    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, colleges and universities are required to provide "reasonable accommodations" -- any modification or change to the typical rules and policies and/or to an academic environment -- that will allow you to be successful while you're there. For example, you may be able to have more excused absences, have access to thermostat controls in your dorm room, or be permitted to make up an exam or a lab that you may have missed due to a hospital stay.

    The campus health center will probably be the most convenient place, but they may not be equipped to handle sickle cell patients. So before arriving at school, do your research on doctors and hospitals near your school. You can even ask your current physician for  any recommendations.

    Don't wait until you're feeling super overwhelmed. Carve out time for study breaks, moments of mindfulness, and light exercise every day. This can help you keep stress -- and stress-induced crises -- at bay.

    Along with all of the above, continue to do what you've always done to stay pain- and illness-free as much as possible. Drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious and balanced meals, wash your hands, avoid extreme temperatures, and get plenty of sleep.

    Are you a sickle cell warrior who's gone away to college? Have any other tips to share? Add them in the comments below!

  4. 11 Movies and TV Shows to Bingewatch on Those Sick Days

    June 6, 2017 by Andrea

    You stay on top of managing your sickle cell -- you're always hydrated, you avoid extreme temperatures, you take your supplements, and you maintain an healthy diet. Sometimes, though, triggers like stress creep in and send you into a crisis. As you recover, it's important relax, so to help you settle in to full-on rest mode, we're bringing you a list of the best feel-good movies and TV shows to bingewatch on those sick days:

    1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
    "A woman who is rescued from a doomsday cult starts life over as a nanny for an Upper East Side socialite in New York City. Armed with just a backpack, light-up sneakers and a couple way-past-due library books, she takes on a world she didn't think even existed anymore."

    2. Masterminds
    "Along with a group of half-brained criminals led by Steve Chambers and an absurdly faulted heist plan, David manages the impossible and makes off with $17 million in cash…only problem is he foolishly hands the money over to this wild group of double crossers and has been set up to take the fall."

    3. Queen of Katwe
    "Queen of Katwe is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion."

    4. The Mindy Project
    This show "follows a skilled OB/GYN navigating the tricky waters of both her personal and professional life, as she pursues her dreams of becoming the perfect woman, finding the perfect man and getting her perfect romantic comedy ending." - Hulu

    5. The Secret Life of Pets
    "The quiet life of a terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray whom Max instantly dislikes." -IMDB

    6. Superstore
    "From the bright-eyed newbies and the seen-it-all veterans to the clueless summer hires and the in-it-for-life managers, together they hilariously tackle the day-to-day grind of rabid bargain hunters, riot-causing sales and nap-worthy training sessions."

    7. Zootopia
    "Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything."

    8. This Is Us
    "A smart, modern new dramedy that will challenge your everyday presumptions about the people you think you know." -Hulu

    9. Hidden Figures
    "The incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big."

    10. New Girl
    "An ensemble comedy centering on a free-spirited young woman, her three male roommates and her best friend, as they navigate modern relationships and end up forming a charmingly dysfunctional – or strangely functional – family." -Hulu

    11. Black-ish
    "Anthony Anderson stars as a father who begins to worry maybe his family have assimilated a little too much into their suburban lifestyle."

    Have any to add to this list? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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