Ebow H-Smith
Today’s Faces of Sickle Cell Disease

Ebow H-Smith


Health care professional, sickle cell disease advocate

His story: Ebow H-Smith has turned his experience with sickle cell disease into an opportunity to connect with others. “There have been moments of pain and discomfort,” he said. “Despite the difficulties, I’ve been determined to live a fulfilling life and not let the disease define me.” This has led H-Smith, a Pennsylvania resident, to pursue a career in health care and advocate for others living with chronic conditions.

Managing pain: In high school, H-Smith was drawn to biology, which sparked his interest in medicine. Around this time, he noticed things he could do, like stay hydrated, to mitigate the onset of severe pain. “Since I’ve lived with this my whole life, I’ve figured out what triggers it and something I call an early-warning system,” he said. “If I feel pain within a day or two and don’t do something about it, I’ll be in a full-blown sickle cell crisis.” That internal barometer has helped him manage pain as an adult and shapes advice he shares with others.

Hope for a cure: “My hope for the future is that advanced medical research will lead to more efficient treatment and ultimately a cure for sickle cell disease,” said H-Smith. Shortly after joining the Army, he had to leave due to rules that don’t allow people with sickle cell disease to enlist in the military. “One of my hopes is that when sickle cell disease becomes curable, patients living with sickle cell disease can join the military service,” he said.

Participating in research: H-Smith has participated in clinical research trials, including a study for potential pain medication, to help researchers identify new treatment options. “What interested me most was the possibility of treatments that can address the root cause of the disease and potentially reduce the frequency and severity of painful crises,” he said.

Advice for others: “Sickle cell disease is a serious disease, but it’s not a death sentence,” said H-Smith. “With proper care and management, people with sickle cell disease can live long and productive lives.”

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