Despite the many lives sickle cell disease take on a yearly basis, it is not one that we hear about a lot. This disease is a killer that should be taken serious. This is what Nora, the sickle cell warrior thought when she started her Sickle cell foundation “Emeli’s Smile Sickle Cell Foundation back in 2018.
What is Sickle cell actually?
Sickle Cell Anaemia is a genetic blood disorder that affects the red blood cells. Instead of the red blood cells being round in shape, sickle red blood cells have the shape of a Sickle. These sickle cells get trapped in blood vessels and blood the smooth flow of blood. This gives rise to excruciating pain known as sickle cell crisis.
Tell Us About You, Nora
My name is Nora Molongwe, popularly known as Nora Brown a . I am a 37 year old mother of 4 ( ages 16, 12, 5 and 2) , Sickle cell warrior and advocate and founder of Emeli’s Smile Sickle Cell Foundation. This foundation helps in creating awareness, education and subsidies health care cost & offer FREE medications to sickle cell warriors.
I started this foundation in 2018 as a form of giving back to the community and helping the low income families affected by Sickle cell after haven lost my two siblings from the disease.
My goal is to one day own a state of the art hospital in Cameroon where warriors will have free medical care in extreme cases.
At the moment the funding come from the events she organises and donations from people of good will.
It is not easy living with sickle cell and being a single mum raising four children, is quite demanding. There are days my body just shuts down from house chores.
It’s also quite worrying when you are hospitalised and you need to worry about how your kids are doing. My children are constantly troubled and will ask questions like “mummy what’s wrong, why are you crying, is your leg hurting?”. Sometimes it breaks my heart seeing that.But this is the way being a Sickle cell patient influences my life and that of my children.
when did you find out you where a sickle cell patient?
“I found out I was sickle cell from childhood, because I took daily medicines, folic acid and I started asking questions to my mother. But mum said she discovered I was sickle cell when I was just 11 months old. I had swollen hands and feet and was crying a lot, so she had to rush me to hospital.”
Is there a difference in being a patient in Cameroon or in Europe?
Nora was born and raised in Cameroon. Being a sickle cell patient living in Cameroon is very different compared to one living in Europe.
Sickle cell in Cameroon is still characterised by stigma and poor health care. Some families can’t even afford food to eat. This situation is getting worse by the day since the conflict better the English & the French. So we try to help the best way we can with the resources we receive.
In the UK healthcare is free. In other parts of Europe insurance policies cover the cost etc but in Cameroon the patient has to pay for everything, including the blood.
What is the best advice you can give another person with Sickle Cell?
Eat well, drink plenty and get enough rest.
NORA B. MOLONGWE
Sickle Cell Warrior, advocate and Founder, of Emeli's Smile Sickle Cell Foundation