AN INTERVIEW WITH SHARON BROWNE-PETER, A SICKLE CELL DIVA
Let’s start with a brief introduction. Tell us about you?
Sharon: My name is Sharon Browne-Peter. I’m 23 with a bachelor’s degree in Real Estate and Urban Planning. In addition to this, I’ve spent the last 2 years working as a certified digital marketing professional. This year I actually founded my first initiative for Sickle-Cell anemia called Cells of a Generation. This is definitely a passion project for me so I’m very excited about the future.
Congratulations on the initiative, but what brought the idea of starting it?
Sharon: Thank you. I was born with sickle cell and growing up, representation for people like me felt so limited. Having Sickle-Cell means navigating a completely different lifestyle from your peers especially because awareness is so low. COAG started as a few creative projects which ultimately lead to a registered charity.
As a warrior, how do avoid crisis and take care of yourself?
Sharon: I avoid stress and I’m just great at looking after myself! It starts with self-love.
Self love is always number 1
The united states recently approved Novartis new drug for managing sickle cell. Adakveo and Oxbryta, what do you think about these drugs?
Sharon: Adakveo and Oxbryta are revolutionary treatments, but they cost $100,000 each, per year. They also need to be taken for life. There is another drug that is now a standard treatment for sickle-cell called Hydroxycarbamide, it also has to be taken for life and it is also expensive. Sometimes it feels like they dangle these things from a very tall tree but we’re just the fish in the sea. Sickle-Cell needs more breakthroughs like this and more affordable treatments in general and from the way it’s looking, we may not see that happen for another 10 years. Also, depending on who you are, I highly dislike the thought of taking a drug my whole life.
$100,000? Who would ever afford considering the poverty rate in Nigeria which is like the ‘capital’ of sickle cell?
Sharon: It’s a breakthrough drug so they’re usually pretty expensive at the start
Any big plans for 2020 for COAG and also the Sharon brand?
Sharon: We have a lot of plans but I can’t reveal them yet
OK… Fingers crossed on that
If you are in a powerful position, what one thing would you do for sickle cell community?
Sharon: Thank you. I’m starting a training program for Warriors next year. Free digital marketing classes that would help you make money from home is a great opportunity for us. I’m also focused on awareness so the Didi Project is a comic book for pre-teens that will kick off next year as well.
You’re an inspiration to many including me, what or who inspires you?
Sharon: I receive inspiration from everyone in different ways, even you! So thank you for interviewing me.
Thank you. My pleasure.
Books or movies? Which would you rather use to ease stress
Sharon: Both. Right now, I’m really into Movies
A quote or saying you live your life by?
Sharon: I have many but one of my favourites that applies to me right now is ‘When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it’ – Paulo Coelho from the book, the Alchemist.
Advice to sickle cell warriors
Sharon: My best advice to warriors is to accept how you are. It’s very hard, society makes it difficult for you to believe you’re something worth loving because ‘something is wrong with you’. Changing from ‘SS to AA’ should not be the goal, your goal should be to love yourself to your best capacity because I promise you everything else follows. You will find yourself learning more about your body, drinking more water because you want to not because you have to, taking your medications correctly because you feel better, reading more about how to take care of yourself more. You’d even eat better and think better because you want to put your best self forward without anyone telling you to do so. We need confident warriors to push forward and end the cycle. We need people to talk about their experiences.
Changing from SS to AA should not be your goal, your goal should be to love yourself
Thank you so much Sharon, it was a great interviewing you. Wish you all success in everything you do.
Sharon: No worries! Thank you for choosing me