My name is Angela and I have Hemoglobin SC Disease (Hgb SC), a type of sickle cell disease. It is usually a milder type of sickle cell than sickle cell anemia (Hgb SS). People with Hgb SC have 1 sickle cell gene and 1 hemoglobin C gene (another type of abnormal hemoglobin).
I submitted a picture of my character the “CILLY CELL” instead of me. This disease has caused me so much unbelievable pain and grief. I am blessed to have three children. When I was pregnant with my second child, I developed double pneumonia. With my third child, I developed pneumonia and pleurisy.
Over 12 years ago, I came home to Georgia to get better health care as I was living in a small town in South Carolina and ended up separated from my ex-husband, leaving my three little children behind.
I had a section 8 voucher but I lost it after I arrived in Atlanta. Losing section 8 started me on the path of being homeless in my own hometown. I lived with associates for a while and got my four year daughter from my ex-husband (my only girl). That associate put us out and we were forced into a shelter. Each day in the shelter, we had to be out every morning after chores and couldn’t come back until 4pm.
Sometimes me and my baby walked for hours eating with monopoly coupons from McDonald’s. Those walks often landed me in the hospital looking for a babysitter. I hated leaving her with anybody. At one point, I got locked up for an old ticket that I didn’t know I had because it didn’t show up on my South Carolina license.
I had just came out of the hospital and never made it to pick up my baby. I was devastated when her father came and picked her up and left me in jail. I was still his sick wife. I was then made to have supervised visits with my children for over one and one-half years and was not reunited with them for another two years.
In the summer of 2004, I finally had an apartment and my children were back where they belonged — with their mother. I started a free after school program called ‘CLUB CAYA’ or Come As You Are. I did this so I could watch my children and the rest of the children in the neighborhood. But my health failed me again when an IV infiltrated in my foot and caused me to be on a walker for a while. I still have the scar.
While I was apart from my children, I underwent kidney cancer surgery and the doctors took my right kidney. A little over 14 months later, I had to undergo a full hysterectomy at 31 years old. I ended up in ICU and almost lost my other kidney and died.
In the summer of 2009, my children and I became homeless again and we remained that way until the winter of 2011. We are in a home now that I can afford with my check. While I was homeless, I created the Cilly Cell character whom I want to give hope to “SICKLERS” worldwide just like the pink ribbon did for breast cancer.
When you see Cilly Cell, I want you to remember Sickle Cell Disease Patients that are suffering in pain everyday. Cilly Cell could be a mascot that can go to hospitals, turn into a stuffed animal or go on a cup. With the money I could raise with Cilly Cell, I could help patients with rent and other stresses, give massages, hairdos and just unlimited support in every area.
My story is 40 years long but THERE IS HOPE IN MY GENES!!! GOD BLESS & THANKS FOR HEARING MY STORY!!!