My Sickle Cell has always been – and will likely always be – very private and I have therefore always had a great fear of discussing it publicly. It took me years to admit to myself, let alone others, that I even have Sickle Cell. However, the challenges of education and adulthood eventually pushed me to speak out about my own experiences in the hope that I would find help, support or guidance on how to cope.
There will, of course, always be conversations which I find uncomfortable but now that I have started to find my voice I hope that – with time – those conversations become easier. If I hadn’t started to open up I would not have met some of the most incredible and inspirational people with Sickle Cell that I now know and I would not have been given so many amazing opportunities, such as becoming a mentor!
To anyone else who is unsure about whether or not to speak up I would say whilst you should never feel pressured into having a conversation you’re not ready to have, you should never allow Sickle Cell to silence you.
Find out more about Whitney and the Mentoring Programme here.