Mapillar has three children with sickle cell. Even though she knew she had sickle cell trait, she didn’t fully understand the gravity of it. She was crushed when she got the diagnosis for her first child who was born with sickle cell disease because her perception of it was just illness and death. Her perspective has shifted, though, and she now recognizes how strong and inspirational her children are. Seeing their strength encouraged her to start her own foundation in 2015 to raise awareness and support families affected by sickle cell.
“The worst thing we can do is not talk about it.”
Understanding Having the Sickle Cell Trait
Mapillar found out that she carried the sickle cell gene when she was in high school. She had to get a physical to be on the basketball team and her bloodwork came back informing her that she carried the gene. As a teenager, though, this discovery did not feel urgent. Even when she was first pregnant, it did not totally sink in that this meant she could have a child with sickle cell disease. Empower yourself with knowledge about what it means to have the trait.
Mapillar’s Truth: Speaking out
Mapillar is a single mother who has three children with sickle cell. Even though someone in her position might feel unlucky or like she was given too much of a burden, that is not how Mapillar feels. She is confident that there is a reason that she is in the position she is. This has inspired her to speak openly about the strength and resilience that people with sickle cell have as a way of fighting against the misconceptions about sickle cell.