Sickle Cell Anemia: Warrior Francis Glenn Somo Tells His Story

Francis Glenn Somo was diagnosed
with sickle cell anemia at 5 months, and has been living with the disease for the last 28 years.

He calls himself a Sickle Cell warrior. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disorders known as sickle cell disease. It affects the shape of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

Sickle Cell patients struggle with countless health, and socio-economic challenges including stigma and rejection throughout their lives.

Medics say the disease which sometimes leads to hearing loss, vision problems, acute chest problems, jaundice, leg ulcers, gallstones, stroke and other health problems can make life difficult for patients.

Francis Glenn Somo acknowledges the challenges of living with the health disorder, but perceives this differently.

Francis Glenn Somo  has been living with Sickle Cell for 28 years.

“ Life has been okay with me, despite health challenges. I have been living my life like any other person. I just know what to do and what not to do. I see life as easy and smooth”.

The twenty-eight-year old  has also developed a thick skin against stigma and reject.

“ I have never faced rejection from people. I don’t let myself to be carried away by what people say”.

His family is one big reason why he feels all different.

“My siblings, and extended family have always supported and encouraged me. They have always given me the best and no body makes me feel like I’m different from the rest. They help me in every way”.

Slow Education

Glenn has a good morale and bravely surmounts every challenge along his way. His lone concern is delayed progress in education. The History student of the University of Yaoundé 1 says frequent health crises have slowed down his educational career.

“ My education has been slow. During exams, I sometimes get into serious crisis due to stress and before I recover, exams are over . Then I have to start pleading with teachers to give me another try. I go to school when it’s necessary, and do most of the work at home, and I talk to my lecturer whenever I’m stuck.I also read a lot and that helps me catch up”.

Switching to Nursing

Regardless of the frequent health crises that have stifled Glenn has decided not to let go of his aspirations , regardless of the frequent health crises that have stifled his education. The Sickle Cell warrior plans to study Nursing in order to bring relief to his community and improve the lives of other patients .

“ I want to study Nursing because I want to help warriors from my community. I want to spread knowledge on Sickle Cell, improve its treatment and create a centre for hematology where I would bring doctors to consult patients at a discount. I want to be able to help others pay their fees, send some to school and provide medication for those who can’t afford it”.

Studying Nursing is however a long term
plan. Glenn’s immediate drive is to to acquire finances to fund his studies.

“ I’m currently studying Forex, and considering ventures that can give me permanent income to sponsor my self into the nursing academy”.

Somo Sickle Cell Foundation

Glenn is not just a Sickle Cell patient, he calls himself a warrior. Glenn is founder of the Somo Sickle Cell Foundation . It is a platform he has created to raise awareness about the disease, and encourage other patients.

Francis Glenn Somo falls himself ten Sickle Cell warrior

Members meet once every month during which a medical doctor consults and educates members on how to manage crisis, before rushing to the hospital .

To Sickle Cell Patients

The Sickle Cell warrior has braved the odds and thinks other patients can do same. He tells Sickle Cell patients to

“Be strong, prayerful, have hopes and never stop dreaming. Take care of yourself, drink plenty of water and take routine drugs. Avoid blood transfusion and take lots of fruits. Go in for blood transfusion if prescribed by the doctor. Wake up from sleep, and look for a job. Work hard and create a company, become the CEO and employ people. You can do that”.

Kathy Neba Sina 

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