My name is Halimat Olaniyan and I have sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell patients are born with their disease and most experience symptoms by 6 months of age, but I didn't have my first symptoms until I was 7 years old. It's simple to say it changed my life. It took me a long time to accept having a chronic illness, but I eventually realized how blessed I was to have a milder form of the disease and parents who were determined to not let my disease define me. But it has shaped my life. It has driven me to pursue medicine and improve health care for not only sickle cell patients but all those who have been neglected by the health care system. My path has pushed me to become an advocate by writing about my experiences, have speaking engagements and hosting events to encourage others to do the same, and of course, working towards becoming a physician. I am currently a second-year medical student at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. To learn more about my individual struggles with sickle cell anemia and my pursuit of becoming a physician you can check out my book, Breaking the Cycle of Pain: Short Stories on Living with Sickle Cell. Now, I am so excited to continue my advocacy work with the support of Health-Union.
Click here to read all of Halimat's articles on Sickle-Cell.com