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My Friend Jen

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A Sickle Cell Documentary

Sickle Cell Documentary featuring Jenica Leah, Stefan Taylor and AStar.
Filmed and Produced By Shauna-Jai Samuels
Marketing Assistant Web & Social Media / BA Broadcast Journalism Graduate

Showing Amazing Sickle Cell Warriors Who Have Shined Through The Toughest of Circumstances.

Before talking about the documentary in question, I should first share my connection with sickle cell.

I first heard of Sickle Cell when I was an early teen. It was commonly described as another ‘black disease’ and as a kid, I associated Sickle Cell with other conditions black people usually suffer with e.g. high blood pressure or diabetes. No one in my immediate family had Sickle Cell; that coupled with the lack of mainstream publicity surrounding the condition I was completely shocked when I came to fully learn about the devastating impact it was having on African and Caribbean communities in the UK. I only had to look back to second and third cousins in my own family who began to share with me their childhood stories of growing up with Sickle Cell. It was upsetting to me that for all those years they had never felt comfortable speaking out about it.

My mom was the main influencer for producing this short documentary about sickle cell. She had met Jenica from a talk she did at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital NHS Trust and called me that afternoon and said (well screamed), “I’ve found the perfect girl with an amazing story!!”.

After learning about Jenica’s triumphs whilst living with a life threatening illness, I immediately thought back to the family I had learnt had Sickle Cell and wanted to show them some amazing warriors who have shined through the toughest of circumstances.

I want people who have Sickle Cell to feel inspired and for those who don’t to seek ways of educating themselves to become more involved in supporting the Sickle Cell community. Producing content that represents black people in a positive way was also very important to me and I wanted to highlight their fantastic talents and academics.

My mission was to help motivate those who have Sickle Cell to dream big as well as keeping the momentum going in the discussion of improved treatments and resources.

In the documentary

Jenica Leah – Author of a collection of children’s books called My friend Jen teaching kids about Sickle Cell. Since filming Jenica’s second book has been released.

Ali ‘AStar’ – Grime Artist – Since filming, AStar has released his new album Born and Raised https://open.spotify.com/album/03i9kk…

Stefan Taylor – Student Since filming Stefan gain a new grad job in finance

I am extremely thankful to my 3 interviewees for allowing me to meet with them and discuss their personal experiences with the condition. My email shaunajai.samuels@gmail.com

Comments

  • Chioma
    June 19, 2020

    Amazing stories, my son was diagnosed at two months, i was emotionally drained and exhausted given limited awareness regarding this disease
    Information and awareness like this helps to promote extensive knowledge
    Thank you for sharing

    reply
    • Jenica
      June 21, 2020

      You are most welcome. So glad you found it helpful

      reply
  • Nancy
    June 21, 2020

    Thank you very much fot this awareness I have my own story to share about this.

    reply
    • Jenica
      June 21, 2020

      We’d love to hear it. If you’d like to share your story on our blog as a contributor please email it to info@myfriendjen.co.uk

      reply

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