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UPMC Adult 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

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.

Read Julian's story

Kyriako Damavoletes

Kyriako Damavoletes

Kyriako Damavoletes 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.

Read Kyriako's story

Richard Fletcher

Richard Flethcher

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.

Read Richard's story

Darryl Watkins

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.

Read Darryl's story