Editorial - The Heart of the Desert

Editorial - The Heart of the Desert

Most of the USA doesn’t really think about Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), but it currently affects 70,000 to 80,000 Americans, with 1 in every 500 African Americans affected, and 1 in every 1,000 to 1,400 Hispanic Americans suffering (statistics found here). SCD is a genetic disorder where there is a mutation in the the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin found in red blood cells. As one can imagine, this is a very important part of the body, and having this abnormality can lead to many health problems, including fatigue, attacks of pain ("sickle cell crisis"), anemia, bacterial infections, and stroke (reference). Long term pain can become a huge problem and having SCD often results in a reduced life span (reference). SCD is not curable, but with the proper care and being proactive one can live a relatively normal life. To learn more about SCD, we interviewed London Knight: stunning model, survivor of SCD, and volunteer. Please read below!

Foreword by Kira Bucca, Editor and Chief of Jejune Magazine.

Where are you from?
I am from St. Louis , Missouri. 

Where do you reside now?
I am currently living in Los Angeles, CA.

How did you start modeling?
I started modeling after I started to receive a lot of compliments from strangers asking me if I was a model. Then I thought maybe I should look into it more. So I signed up for modeling school to learn more about it. After that, I considered myself as a model at the age of 17. 

Can you please explain what Sickle Cell Anemia is?
Sickle cell Disease is a blood disease. It results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin found in red blood cells. This leads to a rigid, sickle-like shape under certain circumstances.

How does having Sickle Cell Anemia impact your day to day?
Sickle Cell Disease rarely effects my everyday life. I make sure I take the rights step to keep me healthy, but sometimes I find it hard staying in clean environments to prevent any germs or bad toxins. This makes me more aware of my surroundings.

Does it impact your modeling?
Having sickle cell affects my modeling a lot, I feel like I have more drive and passion for modeling because of all the odds against me. Modeling is like me proving to the world that I’m special, because I have sickle cell, sickle doesn’t have me!

What is your health regime to help you cope with having Sickle Cell? Do you eat a particular diet? Do you have a consistent workout? Do you take any particular vitamins?
My health regime with having sickle cell is very spiritual, I do a lot of yoga and meditation exercises, a lot of stretching. It’s very important to have a lot of iron intake.

Do you have any advice for anyone with Sickle Cell Anemia?
The advice I would give to someone who was battling sickle cell, would be to tell them to stay strong, god has chosen you to be a fighter, a solider, be proud of who you are, and don’t let anything stop you from following your dreams. God is with you always!

How did you get involved with Sickle Cell Disease Association of America?
I got involved with SCDAA after I did my first Elle spread in 2016. I was so grateful that someone like me could be excelling with all my obstacles. I knew I needed to get my voice out to others just like me, to show them that anything is possible, just believe in yourself. 

Can you tell us a little bit about Sickle Cell Disease Association of America?
The SCDAA is an organization that supports and raises awareness for sickle cell disease all over the United States. 

How can someone get involved?
Anyone can get involved by visiting their website & their Instagram for stories & updates on whatever is happening with SCDAA.

If you are interested in getting involved, please find out more information on Sickle Cell Disease Association of America’s website and social media:
Instagram: @scdaa
Twitter: @SCDAAorg
Facebook: @sicklecellcampaign

Team Credits:
Photography: Kira Bucca Photography
Fashion Stylist: Quentin Fears at Scout Creatives
Make-up: Sienna Gross
Model: London Knight at Photo Genics LA

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