sickle cell illustration
Today’s Faces of Sickle Cell Disease

This year, during Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month, the NHLBI is featuring Today’s Faces of Sickle Cell Disease, a digital campaign to increase awareness by featuring real faces and stories of strength and perseverance of people fighting sickle cell disease (SCD). Throughout September, on this page you will read the stories of people living with sickle cell disease, their loved ones, clinicians, and the researchers whose work offers hope for a cure.

Click below to read their stories. Don't forget to check back often as we add more!

faces of sickle cell



Afia Donkor, 35, lawyer, writer

Beatrice Gee, M.D., 56, medical director of the sickle cell program at the Hughes Spaulding campus of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, professor of pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine

Jeffrey Zuttah, 33, patient advocate, business development professional for the technology firm Quartet

Sakiyya Burwell-Darden, 39, community health worker and executive assistant at the Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey (SCANJ)

Beatrice Bowie, 65, patient, advocate, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center

Brandi Abernethy, 23, nursing student, patient, single mom

Lakiea Bailey, Ph.D., 39, patient, director of the Sickle Cell Community Consortium, research scientist

Anna Conrey, M.S.N., R.N., 37, acute care nurse practitioner in the Sickle Cell Branch of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, associate investigator

Mathew Hsieh, M.D., 48, staff clinician, NIH Clinical Center, physician scientist

Marqus Valentine, 34, co-founder of Sick Cells

Mary Murph, 74, caregiver, patient advocate, founder of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Pinellas County

Brenda Martin, nurse practitioner at Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC), research investigator

Christopher Chambliss, 25, medical school student, researcher, patient advocate

Tanielle Randall, 33, caregiver, patient advocate, account director for a specialty pharmacy

Kirti Dasu, 29, transplant patient and SCD advocate

Deidra Flowers-Williams, 40, sickle cell survivor and advocate, graphic artist, “mother, sister, daughter”

Jennelle Stephenson, 27, graduate student at the University of West Florida

Tosin Ola, 36, registered nurse, founder of the Sickle Cell Warriors website

Rodrick Murray, 45, patient advocate, broadcast professional

Marjorie DeJoie-Brewer, M.D., 46, medical director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Philadelphia/Delaware Valley Chapter; research liaison for hydroxyurea education at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

John Tisdale, M.D., senior investigator in the Molecular and Clinical Hematology Section, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH

Shirley Miller, 61, patient advocate, writer, adviser and consultant

Tesha Samuels, 35, legal instrument examiner at the D.C. Department of Corrections

Pat Corley, R.N., 67, retired nurse coordinator for an NIH sickle cell center, patient advocate and educator

Jennifer Nsenkyire, 46, accountant, patient advocate

Swee Lay Thein, M.B., B.S., F.R.C.P., F.R.C.Path., D.Sc., chief of the Sickle Cell Branch of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH

Courtney Fitzhugh, M.D., Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, Laboratory of Early Sickle Mortality Prevention, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH

Alexis Thompson, M.D., M.P.H., professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, head of the hematology section at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, president-elect of the American Society of Hematology