Having battled with sickle cell disease (SCD) from an early age, Sanah Shaikh wants people to be more accepting of those with conditions that aren’t always externally visible.
Diagnosed when she was three, the 24-year-old from Old Trafford requires daily medication to manage the often acute pain brought on by the disorder, which causes red blood cells to become crescent shaped.
Often misunderstood by her peers in school, she wants people to be more sympathetic of such illnesses, which present no obvious signs.
‘The pain is sometimes excruciating and can put me out for days,’ explains Sanah.
‘It’s made me cautious about everything in my life and I have to know my limits – even doing basic exercise can leave me struggling to breathe.
‘When I was growing up, people didn’t really take me seriously and thought I was being silly, not realising how I felt on the inside.
‘Hopefully my campaign will inspire people to talk about the illness more confidently and encourage others to think beyond what they see.’
With Fixers, Sanah, whose story was recently featured on ITV News, has helped create a poster campaign showing the different sides to SCD.
It shows how a person with the condition can appear fine at first glance, but may be experiencing severe pain inside.
Click the image below to see a larger version of Sanah's Fixers poster:
‘Fixers have done a great job! It looks excellent,’ she says.
‘I wanted to make it as informative as possible so those who don’t know much about the condition can better understand what others may be going through.’
Sanah intends to share the posters in local secondary schools and colleges around Manchester.
Talking about her plans, she adds: ‘Educating pupils about these conditions, which affect around 350 people every year, might help them be more accepting in the future.
‘But I’m also hoping that those who have SCD can find comfort in knowing they’re not alone and you can still lead a fulfilling life.’
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