Marqus Valentine is a co-founder of Sick Cells, a non-profit dedicated to improving the care and quality of life for people living with SCD, including ending the stigma of SCD, by shaping public policy and educating the SCD community as well as society overall. More information is available at SickCells.org.
Marqus Valentine, Co-Founder of Sick Cells, was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia Hgb SS at 6 months old. As a child, he has had a tough time managing the disease and spent countless weeks hospitalized with chronic pain and strokes. Marqus persevered his rough childhood. Now at 33 years old he loves to share his story and help educate others.
Marqus serves on the Board of Directors and attends many media relations events for the Sick Cells organization. Marqus has worked tirelessly to build a community around the sickle cell disease and to unit the affect voices to increase awareness and impact.
The Sick Cells team and Marqus seek to elevate the voice of everyone in the sickle cell disease community.
When I have a sickle cell crisis, my body is not getting adequate oxygen and I am in terrible pain. In the past, at the hospital emergency room, staff have assumed I was a drug addict looking for a fix. Without my family to advocate for me, that ignorance could cost me my life. It is long overdue that these perceptions change because these moments have dire consequences for us all.
I am not alone in facing hurdles as a result of a lack of public and health provider understanding of my rare disease. The lack of public awareness, understanding and effective treatments are common problems shared by other people with rare diseases. That’s why I’m excited to meet with other rare disease advocates, so we can not only share our stories -- but join together to make real change.
Marqus’ family requested we leave this memory up for him and as a thank you to our donors