Julian Cann Writes Music to Cope with Pain of Sickle Cell Disease

Julian Cann uses writing and similar activities to relieve stress and deal with the pain of sickle cell disease.

He’s a young, up-and-coming rapper who performs and lays tracks using the moniker, Jules King.

Coping with Sickle Cell Disease as a Child

As a child, Cann had countless complications arising from sickle cell disease — complications that landed him in the hospital four, five, or more times a year.

He couldn’t go swimming without ending up in the hospital. He couldn’t get too hot or too cold.

“The heat of the summer put me in the hospital every year,” remembers Cann.

Just about anything other kids did for fun resulted in another visit to the dreaded facility.

“My mom, as a single woman, had to work and couldn’t always be with me at my frequent hospital visits when I was a kid,” he says.

“Sometimes all I had to get me through those hospital days was a pen and a pad of paper. That’s where my writing began to take hold and become my creative outlet — an escape from the pain of sickle cell disease and loneliness when my mom couldn’t be with me.”

Looking back, Cann sees that his family was there for him all the time. Even when they couldn’t visit him in the hospital, they did the best they could.

“It was really hard for them to see me go through all that agony as a child. They suffered with me.”

He says this familial support is critical to anyone dealing with the ravages of a hemoglobinopathy like sickle cell.

Music as a Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Platform

Cann explains,

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to cope with the pain better than I could as a kid. Staying active with work and my music doesn’t leave me much time to dwell on the pain.”

He went on to say that he can count, on one or two hands, the number of times he’s been to the hospital in the past four or five years.

That’s a considerable improvement from his childhood experience of five or more hospitalizations each year.

“I began to realize the value of my writing when I was in high school, nearing adulthood. When I write something that people like, it really gives me a boost.

“Sometimes I think the shock value of my lyrics helps people understand some of what I’m dealing with. I’m using my music to represent the people who have sickle cell and to educate others about it.”

He raps about a variety of topics, including sickle cell disease.

Cann hopes to become more involved in building public awareness of sickle cell and other inherited blood disorders as his popularity as an artist grows. Keep your eye on this rising star.

Join Ryan Clark's Cure League team

Learn about the many ways you — like Julian Cann — can help Ryan Clark's Cure League educate the public and build awareness for sickle cell disease.

Ryan Clark's Cure League

Help Tackle Sickle Cell Disease

Conceived by Ryan Clark, Pittsburgh Steelers safety and leading tackler — in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC — Ryan Clark's Cure League raises money to fund sickle cell disease research, support patient care programs, and increase public awareness about this genetic blood disorder.

Join Ryan Clark's Cure League for sickle cell disease.

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org

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, gender identity, 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.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA | UPMC.com