One unit of blood saved my life

I was born 22 years ago in Fort Portal town in Kabarole district Western part of Uganda. I was born with sickle cell. I am the sixth born out of nine children in my family I am the one diagnosed with sickle cell. In my family no one knew about the disease neither had heard of it. My father and mother used to see me swollen on different body parts like the fingers, hands and limbs but couldn’t understand what was happening to me and sometimes they could beat me because of me crying day and night; and they could sometimes scold my elder sister thinking that maybe she made me fall down because of the swelling of different body parts.
My parents realized that I have sickle cells at the age of six when one of their friends came home and found me very sick, she saw the signs I was having like the swelling and my eyes were yellow then told them that it could be sickle cell. They took me to a certain doctor who was treating children in one of the hospitals in Fort Portal town, the doctor took a test on me and I was confirmed that it was sickle cell, my parents were explained to what sickle cell disease and how to handle me. I was started on daily folic acid and weekly chloroquine.
At the age of fourteen I got very sick. My whole body was paining and my family was worried. I was rushed to Buhinga Referral hospital in Kabarole district and was admitted. I had never been transfused before and when my condition continued to deteriorate the doctor recommended that I get transfused with blood.
The nurse came to a draw a blood sample from my already paining hand. After some few pricks, she managed to get the blood vessel and took the blood she wanted though little managed to flow into her syringe. My blood group was tested as O+ and one unit of blood was ordered for me. Despite Buhinga having a blood fridge it was difficult for me to get that one unit I wanted. They looked for blood and it was nowhere to be seen. I had now spent two days in hospital and still in excruciating pain.
That day I did not get the blood and the search continued until the second day when the unit was gotten. I had been kept on painkillers but they helped less to relieve the pain.
The nurse came in with the unit of blood, connected me and drops started entering my veins. I still stayed in pain but had gotten a sigh of relief. I was discharged after spending a week in Buhinga hospital.
My first blood transfusion was good for me because it helped me, my eyes were very yellow and they became white. I get blood transfusion once or twice in a year.
Am very grateful to the people who voluntarily donate their blood to save our lives.

Key Entry Rules

  1. You must be someone with Sickle Cell Disease or have some strong connection with SCD through kinship, friendship or caring responsibility.
  2. Your story – which must be true and should include some aspect of the importance of blood in the narrative – must be between 200–2,000 words.
  3. We expect most entries to come from Africa, but where you live is less important than the story you have to share.
  4. Stories must be submitted by the contest deadline of 30 September 2016.
  5. Photographs and other media can be included and are very much encouraged.
  6. First, second and third place winners will be awarded a monetary prize of $500/$350/$250 respectively. There will also be two special $125 prizes for standout young contestant (under 16) and standout health care professional, if not represented among the overall winners.

Story Criteria

Contest Rules

Past Winners