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  1. 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."

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