Sickle Cell Disease Program Patient Stories

These inspiring people openly share their challenges arising from the physical and emotional pain of sickle cell disease.

Julian Cann


Julian Cann spent much of his childhood in and out of the hospital.

Now a young man, this up-and-coming rapper writes music to relieve stress, deal with pain, and spread the word about sickle cell disease.

Kyriako Dalmavoletes

Kyriako Dalmavoletes knew he was different by about age 4 or 5.

But it wasn’t until middle school that he truly understood the impact has HbS beta thalassemia — an inherited blood disorder — would have on his life.

Richard Fletcher

Richard Fletcher has dealt with complications of sickle cell disease all his life. But some of his worst pain came from losing his sister to the disease.

Practicing martial arts helps him find peace and cope with the pain associated with sickle cell disease.

Darryl watkins

Darryl Watkins has the HbSS variant of sickle cell disease.

Despite losing his sister to sickle cell disease when he was a child, this inspiring man stays positive and hopes to raise awareness about this devastating blood disorder.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com