"I got accepted to three diverse schools, and I picked Frostburg, because it gave me the most scholarship money, not aware of how cold it was going to be. I went there thinking, 'it's just college,' even though people were like, 'oh, it's cold and may affect you." I'm just thinking i'm not usually that sick, so it should be fine. When I got there, it was bad. 

Then being a predominately white school, nobody knew what sickle cell disease was. So there was no empathy for what I was going through."

"My non-profit is called Kno Pain, Kno Gain. I started the non-profit after working at Howard University as a patient advocate. We need more advocates for adults living with sickle cell. 

I had a recent experience. I was in a pain crisis, but it was not a usual one. I finally went to the ER and the pain was on a 20 out of a 1-10. I was vomiting for 4 hours before I called an ambulance. Once I got there, they left me in the ER to vomit another 2 hours. 

They took test. Everything came back elevated and all crazy. We're just going down the list. I'm like, 'my pain is a 10, so are you to keep me to at least control my pain?' 

'Oh no, we're going to send you home with your Tramadol and just release you.'

After that experience, I had my first event for Kno Pain, Kno Gain, my non-profit. [I made] comfort packages. Inside of the packages, it'll be a bottle of water, Tylenol extra strength, affirmations and quotes and a blanket.

After vomiting for 6 hours straight, my body was totally dehydrated, which was already bad. It was bad."