My name is Rosalind Campbell
and I have sickle cell disease.
When I was three I was diagnosed
with sickle cell disease,
which is an inherited blood condition
which affects mainly the African
and Caribbean communities,
but not exclusively so.
The main symptoms of sickle cell
in the joints, all over the body,
which can occur at any time
and is caused by physical exertion,
cold, infections, dehydration
and a whole host of things
which are completely unpredictable.
Having sickle cell
is very unpredictable.
You can be fine one minute
and within half an hour you can be
rolling around on the floor in agony.
It makes it very difficult
to plan your life.
Having sickle cell has had
a huge emotional impact on my family.
Obviously it's distressing for them
to see me rolling around in pain
and they know they can't do anything,
but at the same time
they've been extremely supportive
and that's been hugely beneficial
to keep me going
and to know that whatever happens
they're going to be there for me.
Having sickle cell means
that I have to constantly be prepared
for whatever situation might occur
when I'm out,
so I have to make sure that
I've got my coat in case it gets cold,
I've got to have my tablets,
there's a whole range of things
that I have to consider all the time.
I do that because
I want to stay as healthy as possible
and enjoy myself as much as possible,
and understanding your condition
is one way to do that.
The thing about sickle cell
is that its effects are really variable.
You can have some sicklers who
get through life, have full-time jobs,
have no problems at all,
and others, your whole life
is plagued with problems,
pain, joint problems.
It's very, very variable and that's
of the difficulties with treating it.
The advice I would give to anybody
who's been diagnosed with sickle cell
is to understand about the illness
and how it works,
and that way you can understand
how to look after yourself.
Information about sickle cell
is readily available
from your local sickle cell centres
if you live in London
or other major cities,
otherwise go on the internet,
go to your local library,
speak to your haematologist
and make sure you get
the information that you need.