Dionne was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia at 9 months old.
Dionne Rose, aged 28, from Greenwich, London, is supporting the #DearSickleCell campaign by sharing her sickle cell story.
“Growing up, I always knew there was something wrong. I would suffer from agonising pains in my back, legs, and chest and it would get worse at night, stopping me from sleeping. It wasn’t until I was a bit older when I realised it was my sickle cell causing all of these issues” she said.
“We were a very active and athletic family growing up. Not being able to keep up with my sisters playing sport for fear of getting sick was so difficult for me. But it didn’t stop me trying hard – sometimes too hard.
“I didn't want to be perceived as different. I loved dancing and even though it could make me sick, it was worth the risk to me”
Dionne suffered a particularly bad crisis at the age of six. She needed an emergency blood transfusion that saved her life.
“I was rushed to hospital where the doctors spotted my haemoglobin levels were critically low. I also had hypothermia which really worsened my condition. If I didn’t receive a blood transfusion there and then, things would have gotten a lot worse for me. It was very scary for me and my family.” she said.
Having that blood there for me at that time was pivotal in saving my life.
Dionne’s transfusions haven’t always been well-matched and she has developed antibodies against them as a result.
“The NHS has always tried to match my blood as best they can, but if I’m to need a transfusion in the future, it will need to be an exact match.” Dionne explains.
“This is why we need more black people to donate blood, it could save my life and the lives of others.”
Please register to give blood today and your donation could help someone like Dionne.