As part of Black History Month, we invited Trident customers to tell us their stories about life as a black person in the UK. This is a fantastic opportunity to give more attention to topics less commonly discussed in the wider conversation.
Around 15,000 people in the UK are living with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). SCD causes the red blood cells to be shaped like crescents instead of discs, making it harder for them to move through the blood.
SCD is an inherited disease; though anybody can be born with it, it most commonly affects people from African or Caribbean backgrounds.
The disease has some extremely serious effects on an individual’s health, including:
- Anaemia – can cause extreme fatigue, headaches and fainting
- Sickle Cell Crises – pain attacks that can be severe and last an average of 7 days
- Increased vulnerability to infections e.g. meningitis
Shy, a 20-year-old Trident resident, was born with the disease. She spoke to us about what it’s like to live with SCD and how Trident provides her the support she lacks from the government:
“I hope people take it seriously these days because it’s something I could lose my life over.
I’ve had a blood clot in my lung twice. I know people in wheelchairs – they’ve lost limbs. You could even lose eyesight and hearing. You could stop breathing for a very long time.”
Despite the huge impact on health, the government doesn’t recognise SCD as a life-threatening condition. As a result, Shy cannot get financial support when she is unable to work. In Shy’s own words:
“I really wish I could do things like work. I don’t know how to make money to live.
"But Trident helps a lot with that. They’re very understanding.”
Shy’s story highlights the need for organisations like Trident; our services help vulnerable people where other systems are failing them.