In an emotional later to fans this morning, music star Adekunle Gold shared his story as a sickle cell warrior, how he was able to build resilience, and how he made up his mind to live his dreams no matter what.
He also encouraged other warriors: “the disease does not define you. Don’t allow it to limit your dreams or cap your potential.”
It feels liberating to finally be able to share this part of my life with you, to finally be able to speak my truth. When I talk about how I struggled to get to where I am today, I need you to know that my struggle was real.
I was born with sickle cell disease. It was life and death, it was physical, mental, financial, you name it and I went through it all. It was tough, painful and frustrating. I lived with a sickness no one around me understood, I lived with restrictions all my childhood.
I wasn’t able to join some of the most minor child play and liberating activities like going out in the rain. The times when I insisted and rebelled against my parents orders and went out in the rain, I would end up having a crisis.
The nights were painful and lonely, nights that no one could help me get through. It was just me, God and my mind. The pains and shivers were unbearable.
They always came in the night, when my family had no means to transport me to a hospital. We simply couldn’t afford the constant hospital bills so I had no choice but to endure the pain.
My mum wanted me to be well, she did her best. She took me to all the churches she could find, I’m grateful for her because she saw a future for me.
A future where no illness or sickness could hold me back from my purpose. From the life I was destined to live.
Sickle cell disease took away my freedom, my childhood. I lost friends, a lot of them. Some didn’t understand the restrictions and rules I had to live by, some just didn’t want to deal with my Illness or thought it was a nasty or contagious disease that they could catch. I was a burden for some. Living with sickle cell is far from living a normal life.
One of the most intense crisis I had was at the age of 20, I remember laying in my bed in the middle of the night asking for an end to it all. I begged God to take my life away because I couldn’t understand what I did to deserve the pain my body and mind was under. As usual with sickle crisis after some days, the pain subsided and God asked me; “That end you begged me for, do you still want it?” Of course I said no and that’s when everything changed for me. That’s when I realised that I had been given another opportunity to live my dreams and to show those that mocked me that sickle cell anemia was never going to end me, that it was never going to hold me back from my dreams and aspirations.
My body caves in once in a while, some symptoms come back but what this disease has taught me is resilience. Sickle cell anemia gave me hope, made me tough, gave me the discipline I needed to be who I am today, built my character. I mean I went through a whole 5 weeks of back to back performances and didn’t fall sick. Grace.
If you are a sickler, know that the disease does not define you. Don’t allow it to limit your dreams or cap your potential. Spread your wings and dream big! Hope to see you soaring the big skies.
All my love,