Name: Sadeh Sophia
Likes: Crisps, Beyonce, Mary J Blige, The colour orange.
Dislikes: Spiders, People breathing too close, Saying I Love You.
Secret Confession: Wanted to be Scary Spice from the Spice Girls.
For the first Spotlight Sunday of the year, please allow me to introduce fellow Birmingham sickle cell ambassador Sadeh Sophia. As one half of United Sicklers and a board member of registered charity Organisation for Sickle Cell Anaemia Research and Thalassaemia Support (OSCAR), Sadeh is a dedicated advocate for sickle cell. As well as all of this, she is also a qualified pharmacist after achieving a first in her Master’s Degree back in 2015 – Oh and did I mention she has sickle cell anaemia?
“Sickle cell is my best friend and my worst enemy. Even though it has tried to kill me six times it has made me a fighter.”
In her early years growing up with sickle cell, Sadeh suffered with regular bouts of pneumonia and chest infections, and spent a lot of time in hospital between the age of 5-7. She used to have regular painful crisis and didn’t really understand that sickle cell was something that she had to manage every day. At the age of 8 she made up her mind that she wanted to become a pharmacist because she wanted to know more about medicine since she had to take so much to manage her condition.
Although Sadeh felt growing up with sickle cell was difficult, it was nothing compared to the serious complications she has had to cope with as a young adult. Sickle cell now affects every aspect of her life and the physical effects are a lot worse than they used to be for her growing up. Her sickle cell is now so severe, she has to have at least 8 units of blood every 4 weeks via a method called a blood exchange. She also had a vortex port fitted in her chest in order to be able to receive the blood exchanges that she needs, as years of trauma have made her veins difficult to access.
Despite having to deal with all of this, Sadeh was not deterred from achieving her dream of becoming a pharmacist and succeeded through college and university. She tried hard to find a balance between her education and life with sickle cell – although she admits that sometimes this was impossible and there were times she had to mask being unwell and took exams whilst being on morphine and other strong medication.
Not knowing anyone else with sickle cell that had graduated university, Sadeh wanted to achieve everything that she could to prove that people with sickle cell can still achieve anything they want to.
“I can conquer the world, it might just take me a little longer”
Now at 26, Sadeh says she can’t imagine what life would be like if she didn’t have sickle cell because it has made her who she is. Even though there have been days and weeks that she has felt down, she knows she still has a lot left to give.
Well warrior, keep on giving. I look forward to what is come!