The Sickle Cell Society, a charity supporting and representing people affected by sickle cell disorder in the UK, has been in touch to share Bola’s Story, where Bola Jibodu tells her moving story of her lifelong struggle with the pain of sickle cell disorder and the welcome news of her lifechanging care and treatment at University Hospital Lewisham.
Bola has been affected by sickle cell disorder, an inherited, painful, debilitating disease that predominantly affects people of African heritage and around 15,000 people in the UK, and requires lifelong treatment for pain crises and other issues that make a normal life nearly impossible.
Bola has suffered sickle cell complications since she was a baby and her parents were told she would not live past 10 years of age, but Bola has fortunately survived through to adulthood, albeit with fatigue, a weakened immune system and frequent hospitalisations.
Since beginning treatment with exchange blood transfusion, a new treatment provided at University Hospital Lewisham, however, Bola’s Story tells of her new lease of life – in the three years since beginning exchange therapy, Bola has not been admitted to hospital acutely and has the energy to care for her two children.
New treatments like those at the University Hospital Lewisham are critical for all sickle cell patients across the UK, while donation too is important. People of Black heritage often have different blood groups to white donors; when people like Bola have regular blood transfusions, it is crucial that the blood used is of a good ethnic match. Currently, not enough people of Black heritage regularly donate blood. The blood donation service for England, NHSBT, need 40,000 new blood donors from this group to meet demands.
You can watch Bola’s Story via the Sickle Cell Society website here: https://www.sicklecellsociety.org/bolas-story/ and follow more of their important work for sickle cell patients via their website. You can support people like Bola by registering as a potential blood donor here: http://bit.ly/scsgiveblood