Lea Kilenga Bey, a Kenyan sickle cell patient defied all stereotypes by running a full 10,000 mile Kenyan marathon. This life threatening feat was not to boost personal pride but to prove that even with the limitations that comes with sickle cell, a carrier can achieve the unimaginable.
Picture: Lea Kilenga Bey
Sickle cell anaemia which is not just a life threatening disease but one that literally drains the life out of it’s host has been on the steady rise over the last decade.
A new study suggests the number of deaths due to sickle cell disease is 11 times higher than what is indicated from mortality data sources alone. Sickle cell disease is not just underdiagnosed, but it also increases risk of infection and of death from conditions like stroke, heart problems, kidney problems, and pregnancy complications. This means that the doctor taking care of a sickle cell disease patient who died from stroke may not even know that person had sickle cell disease or may not know that sickle cell disease can cause stroke, both of which could lead the doctor to not list sickle cell disease as a cause of death for that person.
More than 66% of the 120 million people affected worldwide by sickle cell disease live in Africa. Approximately 1000 children are born with the disease every day on the continent, making it the most prevalent genetically-acquired disease in the region.
Picture: Lea Kilenga Bey (Right)
Although the end of the marathon took a scary turn for Lea as she almost lost her life, it served as a remarkable reminder that although sickle cell patients are limited, they can do a who lot more than they give themselves credit for.
In Kenya, the disease is normally tied to ancestral curses or demonic attacks so the idea of seeking medical help does not normally cross their minds often leading to their loved ones losing their lives. In the face of adversity, Lea Kilenga Bey remains an unwavering champion for sickle cell awareness and access to proper healthcare, igniting hope and paving the way for a brighter future for those affected by this relentless disease.
Simply put, believers should not be afraid of seeking medical help. Christians should not feel seeking medical help means they do not believe in the healing power of GOD. The Father, knows why He gave the doctor his gifts of diagnosis and treatment. It is important to pray for healing but at times, the healing will come from GOD through the doctor. So go on.