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  1. 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!

  2. How to Turn the March for Science’s Actions into Sickle Cell Activism

    April 24, 2017 by Andrea
    march for science

    Poster design: marchforscience.com


    The March for Science -- which saw protesters all over the world stand up against the Trump administration's "alternative facts"-driven outlook on the discipline -- took place on Earth Day (Saturday, April 22, 2017). And while the majority of the march's focus seemed to center on climate change, the Flint water crisis, and wildlife protection, scientific research of all kinds is championed by the marchers, supporters, and activists.

    That includes research and advancements for sickle cell disease.

    This new week post-march is one of continued action and provides the perfect opportunity to further awareness of SCD, starting with today (Monday, April 24), in which the theme is "Science Discovers." The march's website provides various ideas on how to participate in this first day of action: promote science outreach, plan a science game night, and get others involved. Building upon the March for Science's suggestions, we've got a few thoughts on how you can tailor your first day of action -- and the rest of the week's -- to be sickle cell-specific:

    1. Plan an informal teach-in (or series of teach-ins) at a local school, church, or community organization to be held in the near future. Partner with a nearby chapter of the SCDAA or other similar group to bring in experts and speakers.

    2. Suggest that your book club choose a sickle cell-themed book for your next selection, and come to the meeting ready to discuss what you've all learned, and brainstorm ways you can support the community.

    3. Create your own SCD-themed card game or board game with family and friends. Then, host a game night to actually play your newest masterpiece. It's a fun way to educate yourself and others you know about sickle cell. Check out this list of science-related games for inspiration on developing your own.

    As you work on those ideas and begin the planning process, keep the other days of action in mind, too, and implement more activities and programs so that your year is full of activism and awareness.

  3. Remembering Julian Bond and His Work with Sickle Cell

    February 20, 2017 by Andrea
    By Eduardo Montes-Bradley [CC BY 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

    By Eduardo Montes-Bradley [CC BY 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

    As part of our ongoing Black History Month tradition, we highlight specific pioneers of SCD awareness. Today, we're reflecting on Julian Bond. We all know that Bond was an icon of the Civil Rights Movement, but did you also know about his contribution to helping fight sickle cell?

    In the early years of his 20-year service to the Georgia state legislature -- a seat he had to fight for all the way to the Supreme Court -- Bond wrote and introduced a bill calling for a statewide sickle cell testing program, making Georgia one of just a handful of states that conducted such screenings at that time. The bill "would require the Georgia Dept. of Health and each county board and department of health to 'promulgate appropriate rules and regulations governing tests for sickle cell anemia or sickle cell trait,'" JET reported in its March 23, 1972 issue.

    Since, at that time, sickle cell could not be determined at birth, the bill stated that testing would begin when a baby reached about 6 months old. Because the testing was mandatory and targeted African Americans, however, many people felt that it could be used to discriminate against Black people -- and that definitely did happen.

    As a result, then-president, Richard Nixon, signed the National Sickle Cell Anemia Control Act, which forbade discrimination of people affected by sickle cell disease and/or sickle cell trait, made testing voluntary, expanded sickle cell awareness and research programs, and funded those programs with millions of dollars.

  4. How to Stay Stress-Free and Keep Crises in Check During the Holidays

    December 6, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: The Bloom Beautifully Box/ Design: xickle.com

    Photo: The Bloom Beautifully Box/ Design: xickle.com

    Well, at least as stress-free as possible.

    The holidays can be daunting with work, school, and family, so a tiny bit of tension is bound to happen. It's how you handle it that matters. Whether it's you or someone you know that needs a bit of help de-stressing, we've got the perfect gift round-up to help you relax and release. Check out our picks below:

    The Bloom Beautifully Box, $39 bimonthly
    Founded by self-care expert Tara Pringle Jefferson, this subscription box contains items that fit a different theme every other month. Past themes have included Sleep Well, Freedom, and Spa day, to name a few, and they have been stocked with items, such as sleep masks, tea, a nighttime journal, aromatherapy oil, scented candles, shower bombs, and more! Membership also includes access to a private support group, discounts on the annual self-care retreat, and weekly affirmations right in your inbox.

    Sense with Voice, $149
    For some of us, attempting to sleep in complete silence just does not work. Enter Sense with Voice, a stylish voice-activated sound machine, sleep monitor, and smart alarm all in one.

    Color Therapy: An Anti-Stress Coloring Book, $11
    "Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness," certified art therapist Marygrace Berberian told CNN in an interview earlier this year. So, pick up a new set of markers, and get ready to take advantage of this fun form of meditation and take control of your stress levels.

    Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds Bubble Bar, $12
    Said to "promote inner peace," this LUSH fave will bless your bath time with bubbles galore. Infused with the aromas of frankincense and patchouli, this bar is sure to give you the escape from stress you need.

    Have any stress-relieving gift ideas of your own? Add them in the comments below!

  5. What Every Warrior Needs to Head Back to School

    August 16, 2016 by Andrea

    Whether you're a teacher or a student, the best part about going back to school is the shopping for new swag -- notebooks, backpacks, clothing, accessories, and more. And since the return of classes also coincides with Sickle Cell Awareness Month, consider picking up items like these:

    1) Knock Out Sickle Cell Anemia Tote Bag, $23


    2) Sickle Cell Awareness iPad mini Case, $5


    3) Sickle Cell Awareness Drawstring Backpacks, $29


    4) Assorted Sickle Cell Warrior Journals and Notebooks, $10



    5) Sickle Cell Awareness Ribbon Mouse Pad, $13


    Not only will you head back to school with a haul of brand-new stuff, you'll also help spread the word about sickle cell to your students and classmates. Simply seeing your items may prompt others to ask about SCD, giving you an opportunity to explain what it actually is and how they can help.

    Did we miss any of your favorite items? Add them to the comments below!

  6. Not Sure How to Teach Your Kids About Sickle Cell? Give This New Book a Try.

    July 28, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Facebook

    Photo: Facebook

    Children learn a lot about the world they live in through stories. Think back to your own favorite childhood bedtime reads and the lessons they taught: "Goodnight Moon" gave kids a fun way to learn a bedtime routine and how to identify different objects and colors found around their own rooms and various fairy tales taught of love, as well as how to spot and avoid dangers that may be found outside the house, among other things. Now, kids can also learn about sickle cell disease in a way that they can understand and enjoy with a soon-to-be-released book series called, "My Friend Jen."

    Penned "with the objective of creating better understanding and awareness of the blood disorder sickle cell anaemia," this series is the perfect addition to any children's library -- whether they, themselves, are sickle cell warriors; whether they have a friend or family member who is; or, whether you would just like to get their awareness started early.

    Written by Jenica Leah, a UK-based author and sickle cell warrior, the first book in the series -- "A Little Different" is set to drop on August 15 on Amazon.com. The story is told from the point of view of one of Jen's friends and gives readers simple tips on how people living with SCD can keep themselves healthy.

    Learn more about Jenica's own journey here, and be sure to follow "My Friend Jen" on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

  7. TLC’s T-Boz Details Her Sickle Cell Journey in New Memoir

    May 17, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Instagram

    Photo: Instagram

    Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins of TLC fame has never been quiet about her sickle cell warrior status. She addressed it back in 1999 in her first book, a collection of poems entitled "Thoughts"; she's discussed it in numerous interviews over the years; she held a benefit concert last December; she's the national celebrity spokesperson for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America; and now, she's prepping to pen a memoir that is set to be released in September of 2017 by Rodale Books.

    Called "A Sick Life," this memoir will delve deeper into the singer's sickle cell journey and how it has impacted every aspect of her life, from her singing career to her relationships to motherhood and everywhere in between. Told by doctors that she'd never live past 30 (she's now 46) and that she'd never have children (she has a 16-year-old daughter), among other things they claimed she'd never be able to do, T-Boz has surmounted every obstacle and then some.

    "I want to hopefully get stuff off my chest and inspire someone at the same time," she told People magazine in an exclusive interview last week. "There's a lot that people don't understand about sickle cell anemia. I want to really clear it up and hopefully give everyone a better understanding ... I haven't really talked about all the times I could have died, my ICU visits," she continued. "I was really a young girl who had a dream, who wanted to do something they told me I could never have."

    Click here to read the full article.

  8. 12-Year-Old Sickle Cell Warrior Has Her Own Goals of Raising Awareness

    May 2, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: YouTube/Screenshot

    Photo: YouTube/Screenshot

    Bringing much-needed attention of sickle cell disease to the masses isn't an "adults only" type gig. And 12-year-old Jaida Holley -- AKA Jay Simone the Decade Author -- proves that.

    A super-energetic spirit with three self-published books under her belt already, Jaida's next goal is to write a book about her own experiences living with SCD. In an interview with KWTX in her hometown of Killeen, Texas, Jaida said, "I know a lot of people don't understand [sickle cell] and I really just wanna spread the news ... and let people know that sickle cell is really real and it's painful." According to KWTX, Jaida would also like to start a support group for girls with sickle cell.

    Jaida got her start in writing just two years ago, when she wrote and published her first book -- a book of poems -- for Google's kid-preneur program called "Lemonade Day." Most recently, she got accepted to Duke University's summer studies program , where she hope to learn even more skills to help her achieve her goals. This young warrior is doing big things and we can't wait to see how it all unfolds!

  9. 5 Warriors Who are Proof That You Can Live a Long, Healthy Life with SCD

    March 14, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    According to the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, the average life expectancy for sickle cell warriors living in the U.S. is in the mid 40s. However, these warriors -- from all over the world -- are proof that if given the proper treatment and lifestyle care, people living with SCD can live well past that.

    1) Asiata Onikoyi-Laguda
    This past November, Asiata celebrated her 90th birthday! A Nigerian native, Asiata is thought to be the oldest person in the world living with sickle cell, and in an interview she gave with The Cable newspaper, she revealed that she's never had any dietary restrictions, but that she does eat what she likes in moderation. “I have always maintained a middle road in life. Moderation keeps you going, when those who indulge themselves have lost their balance,” she told the paper.

    2) Richard Mitchell
    Now 72, Richard Mitchell's milestone 70th birthday was celebrated in the New York Times. When diagnosed, he was told by his doctors that he wouldn't live past 40. His secret? Taking things one day at a time, avoiding stress and dehydration, eating well, and exercising.

    3) Lenabell Bell
    Lenabell began experiencing crisis-related pains as a child, but wasn't actually diagnosed with sickle cell until she became pregnant with her first daughter in 1939. Almost 20 years later, she joined a sickle cell research project and ultimately outlived every other patient on the project -- Lenabell made it to the ripe old age of 83 in 2000. Inspired by her longevity, her most recent doctor wrote a memoir about her that you can get here.

    4) Ernestine Diamond
    Now 89, Ernestine Diamond is the founder and CEO of Sickle Cell Action Through Technology, where she's been advocating on behalf of all sickle cell warriors for more than 30 years. She's also the author of an upcoming book entitled, "Learning to Live Well With Sickle Cell, Victorious Living in the Midst of the Storm." 

    5) Birney Smith
    Born in 1929, Birney, a retired United States Postal Services worker, didn't know the cause of his painful episodes until he reached his 20s. At the 2015 World Sickle Cell Day celebration in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Birney told the New Pittsburgh Courier that he has never let SCD keep him from living his best life. He told the paper that the best advice he can give is to, "keep up your faith in your eternal maker, creator; He controls everything. Keep the best of intentions and the golden rule is to treat other people the way you'd want to be treated."

  10. The Black Panther Party and Its Dedication to Sickle Cell Awareness

    February 16, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Twitter

    Photo: Twitter


    A couple of weeks ago, we kicked off Black History Month by recognizing the contributions of several Black Americans to sickle cell disease. This week, we're continuing that recognition by highlighting the efforts of the Black Panther Party (BPP). This is especially significant given the fact that so many people still have strong misconceptions about the Party, misconceptions that came to light again recently after Beyoncé payed tribute to them (this year being the 50th year since they began) during her Superbowl performance.

    "Serve the people, body and soul" is actually what the Black Panther Party was all about. This motto was more than a mere tagline or hashtag-worthy saying to the group, though. It was actively practiced through initiatives, such as the free school breakfast program, the free ambulance service, model schools, and the establishment of the People's Free Medical Clinics in several cities across the country. One of the functions of these free clinics? To screen people for sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait, which they began doing in 1971.

    As discussed in the book, The Black Panther Party Reconsidered, "Panthers were at the forefront of an educational and medical campaign to eradicate sickle cell anemia ... In a front page article in The Black Panther, entitled "Black Genocide, Sickle Cell Anemia," the Party accused the United States government of refusing to conduct research to find a cure for sickle cell anemia." By the time 1973 rolled around, the federal government decided to get involved and began funding research into SCD. While this was a win for sickle cell overall, this move also unfortunately disrupted the Party's work. If it hadn't been for them, though, there's no telling how long it would have taken the government to begin work on SCD research.

    For more information on how the Black Panther's pushed for sickle cell awareness and research funding, check out the links below:

    The People's Fight Against Sickle Cell Anemia Begins
    A Huey P. Newton Story: Community Survival Programs
    The Black Panther Party: Service to the People Programs

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