A photojournalist who is struggling to live with his Sickle Cell condition said he was depressed to the extent of wanting to commit suicide.
Benjamin who is in his late twenties said, his condition has frustrated his efforts at having a steady relationship.
He shared his story with Nii Nortey Duah, host of the Ultimate Health show on Joy FM on Sunday where he revealed that life has not always been easy.
He relayed his near death story when he was nine and had been in dire need of blood.
“…I was waiting until, in the morning, I think that was the fourth day the doctor came and told my mum that if I don’t get blood transfusion by 11 am I was going to die. What killed me most was that the doctor didn’t wasn’t me to die in their hospital,” he said.
He was discharged from the hospital in his condition at the time. Though he was alive and could hear and see everything, he could not speak.
At such a tender age and living with such a disease could certainly have not been easy but being rejected even by a medical doctor would have been heartbreaking.
His mother took him to the hospital church nearby. She prayed and cried until his brother came to them with the blood at 1 pm which gave him the chance to survive.
These are some of the circumstances that sickle cell patients go through. People are ignorant of their conditions and either end to restrict them or discriminate knowingly or unknowingly against them.
“In basic school, everyone is trying to do something, the P.E staff or soccer and the moment you come there they’re like oh, he’s a sickler”. This tag given to them sets them apart from everyone and it does not give them the chance to do many this like play soccer, run, dance or even jump.
However, he made it known that if one in his condition is stopped from joining in activities, they feel trapped.
It is good if they are allowed to participate in activities knowing that they know their limits and will not go beyond it.
June 19, each year has been set aside as World Sickle Cell Day since 2008 to create awareness for the disease.
Sickle cell is an abnormality in the haemoglobin, a protein red blood cell that carries oxygen throughout the blood.
The disease is inherited from parents with sickle cell status. It is not curable but there are medications that are taken to sustain life.
World Sickle Cell Day is set to create awareness, increase knowledge and also reveal struggles Sickle cell patients and family go through.
Lately, the existence of various medicines has made survival for Sickle cells much easier.
Yasmin another Sickle cell patient interviewed during the program said the hospital or the sick bay at school was her ‘second home’.
She spent more time at the hospital than at home or at school.
There are various medications and surgery available to sickle cell persons however not everyone has the means to afford these medications.
As individuals we should extend our hands to these people, they are part of our society, our friends and our family.