Mary Shaniqua,  —

Mary is a 30-year-old London-based sickle cell patient using her experiences to build up others and raise awareness of what it’s like to live with a rare disease.

Articles by Mary Shaniqua

Sickle Cell May Knock Me Down, but I Will Stand Back Up

In a previous column, I mentioned some of the good things that happened to me last year. This included a decrease in my iron levels and my subsequent switch from Desferal (deferoxamine mesylate) subcutaneous infusion pumps to Exjade (deferasirox) tablets. This was one of my greatest highlights of…

Tips for Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

Here’s a little fun fact about me: Christmas is my second favorite time of year after August, which I like because it’s one of the hottest months here in the U.K. It’s also my birthday month, and the month that Notting Hill Carnival is held. With this festive period…

What Does It Mean to Be Successful?

Recently, I was playing a question-and-answer game with my partner, and one question that came up was, “What message would you like to tell your younger self?” My answer essentially was about prioritizing and measuring my life by the important things. In my younger years, I had a life plan,…

How I Manage a Sickle Cell Crisis at Home

In a previous column, I spoke about some of the things that trigger a sickle cell crisis. This week, I want to share some pointers on how I try to address a crisis in its early stages while at home. Electric blanket I have a heated electric…

Here’s What Triggers a Sickle Cell Crisis for Me

A sickle cell crisis is one of the main symptoms sickle cell patients face. However, just because we all experience the same symptoms, or similar ones, it doesn’t mean the condition affects everyone equally. As I meet more sickle cell patients, I’m further convinced that the condition affects each…

Trying a Different Medication to Address Iron Overload

Iron overload is a common side effect for sickle cell patients participating in blood transfusion programs. When this happens, the body’s excessive iron levels can cause an accumulation of iron in the body’s organs, which can lead to serious organ damage. I was diagnosed with iron overload…

My Birthday Wish for Sickle Cell Patients

I turned 31 on Aug. 20, 2020. That’s 31 years as a sickle cell patient, and what a journey it has been so far! As sickle cell patients, we are often exposed to all sorts of negative comments and stigmas surrounding the condition. So, I want to use my…