Hello my name is Shamonica Wiggins. I’m 25 and I have Sickle Cell SS. My mother found out that I had Sickle Cell at the age of just 2 weeks old. Sickle Cell has always been present in my life. Even as a small baby I had to deal with Sickle Cell Crises and hospitalizations. When I was only 3 years old I suffered a stroke. According to my mother that was a very hard time for our family because my cousin was also battling Leukemia. I was placed on life support and my mom was told I would never walk or talk properly again in life. Well with prayer and faith in God that was proven to be false. Sadly my cousin lost her battle but the family stayed strong for me and my mom. As I grew older it would seem that sickle cell would grow also. I faced many challenges throughout my childhood. Constant fatigue, painful episodes, hospitalizations, blood transfusions and a lot of missed school. Although I missed a lot of school my studies were always a top priority. I was an honor roll student, enrolled in Talented and Gifted classes, and a star pupil. When I was 12 I had acute chest syndrome for the first time ever. It was very painful and difficult to deal with. That following year at the age of 13, I had my gallbladder removed because of gallstones. This too was very painful but thankfully I no longer have to worry about that pain reoccurring. My early teen years it seemed as if the severity of my Sickle Cell was tapering off until I reached 17. At that age and my senior year of high school I was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, which is a bone infection, due to poor circulation in my left knee. I had to have an immediate surgery, a drain was placed in my bone to suction out all the infection and I was in the hospital for a month. Not only did I have to endure painful rehab but my high school graduation was almost jeopardized. But as usual I overcame that obstacle thankfully and I graduated from high school. Upon graduation I went off to Texas Tech University. I loved my college experience but being away from home made getting sick a bit difficult. Between the ages of 18 through 20 I did not have a Hematologist in my college town, which means I used the ER as my primary way of getting treatment. The lack of having a Hematologist nearly cost me my life at the age of 20. During a routine hospitalization for a crisis, I was wrongly diagnosed with the flu and was given excessive amounts of fluids. Those fluids then caused me to contract a severe pneumonia, which resulted in me being intubated for two weeks. My mother was told that the first 48 were critical and that she should brace for the worst. The moments I was conscious I could see a black shadow figure of a man standing at the foot of my bed. I believe that was death staring at me. Me and my family kept our faith and prayed harder than ever before. Again God blessed me tremendously and spared my life yet again. I’m so thankful for that blessing because the following year I gave birth to my now 3 year old daughter, Roree. She is by far my biggest blessing, although my pregnancy was very rough, I feel it was worth it! My daughter gives me even more strength to keep fighting, to never give up and to not let Sickle Cell get the best of me. I feel God has blessed me with my life so I can help and encourage others with Sickle Cell. So I’ve turned my struggle into my testimony and that’s what fuels my passion for Bold Lips for Sickle Cell! My goal in life is to advocate so much for Sickle Cell that our future generations never have to face the struggles I’ve faced.