What is Sickle Cell Disease?

What is sickle cell disease? In this episode of “Stand Out from the Inside,” presented by Versiti, author James Griffin of, “Breaking Silence, Living with Sickle Cell Anemia” shares his story about his battle with sickle cell, and some of the blood donation fears in the black and brown community.

Guest(s): James Griffin is not only kind of a partner with us, but he is actually a Sickle Cell advocate and warrior. He has the sickle cell warrior disease, but he has been with us for so long, spreading his story, sharing it, and he's here to tell that story to you all.

About Our Host:

Edgar Daggett born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI. He currently serves as the Specialty Programs Marketing Associate at Versiti Blood Centers, where he focuses on direct involvement and campaign management on specialty products and diverse groups. Past family experience inspired him to begin his journey at Versiti in 2020. He knew that the need for diverse units was growing year to year, and because of his personal history, he decided to make the change – and help make a change.

Through the Stand Out From the Inside podcast, he hopes to empower new and bright individuals in his community and beyond to spread the word on the need for diverse blood products through donation and blood drives.  

“I hope you all enjoy the Stand Out from the Inside podcast presented by Versiti, where we talk about the needs of the community and ways we can become stronger!”

About - Podcast Show Series

STAND OUT FROM THE INSIDE presented by Versiti is a podcast where—we recognize community with light, uniqueness, and identity. Edgar Daggett will talk with individuals to celebrate ethnicity and blood type — it is part of our survival. Because within our communities, we have attributes that we give and serve in our community. This is a fresh podcast that will give voice to diversity and inspiration. We will promote strength, trust, caring, inclusivity, and positivity. And will go deep on the lifesaving impact of blood donation. How do you Stand Out from the Inside? https://www.versiti.org/standout

Welcome to the show. Stand out from the inside podcast presented by Versiti. I'm your host Edgar Daggett, and we are bringing you a recorded podcast. This is a beginning podcast, season one episode one, super excited from the world of Versiti blood centers here in the Midwest. You know, this podcast has been coming along for the last couple of months, strategizing how do we invite our community members to get more involved within the world of blood, whether donation side, but how do we bring each other together? When I say together, I mean, people, churches, businesses, how do we help each other? Because within our communities, we have our own little special attributes, our own little special aspects that we give and that we serve our community and I believe we can help each other, help the people around us, our families and friends. [00:01:00] And more importantly, bring our community forward in ways that we can help other communities. If you're not familiar with Versiti, we are the blood centers of the Midwest. We are a fusion of blood donors, scientific curiosity, precision medicine, and we realized that the gift of blood and life are precious. In this podcast, you know, we won't only to be talking about blood, but we'll be talking about some of our community members, people like the black and brown communities, Hispanic communities, Asian communities, and so many other communities that play a big role. Our very first guest is a very special guest; he comes from Wisconsin. His name is James Griffin. He's here to help us kind of talk a little bit about what it means to be with Versiti, what it means to be a partner with Versiti and how we can help each other. James Griffin, welcome to the Stand Out from the Inside podcast.

James: Thank you for having me Edgar, I'm happy to be here and share my story.

Edgar: Yeah, [00:02:00] welcome, welcome. I appreciate that. You know, James, I've been able to keep tabs and kinda like meet you and see what you've been doing, and you've done amazing work with Versiti and being able to share your story is what keeps driving us to work and to find out more. James Griffin is not only kind of a partner with us, but he is actually a Sickle Cell advocate and warrior. He holds the sickle cell warrior disease, but he has been with us for so long, spreading his story, sharing it, and he's here to tell that story to you all. And from there, we'll talk and dive deep in how we can help each other. James, you know, let, let the people know, you know, this is the first podcast, it's the beginning. You know, all these people are interested in what is Stand Out from the Inside, and how are we helping each other? And, you know, you're the first guest that we have on the podcast, and I've been telling everybody else, you gotta listen to this man's story, And not only that, he's been here helping us. He's our first guest, you know, he signed up right away [00:03:00] and he's here to help our mission. James, I'm gonna let it go to you. Tell the people, what's going on with James Griffin.

James: So I'll start off by telling you how I got involved with Versiti. It happened with me being involved with a nonprofit organization. A member of the organization had donated blood and she had happened to have the blood type that was universal. So the Ro blood, she had that blood and she invited me to come down to Versiti while they were hosting, you know, more information about being a donor. So I came down to that and really got to talk and see and learn more about what it was like to, donate blood from you know, a donor's perspective since I have sickle cell, I can't donate blood, but I received blood a lot. So just being able to tour the facility and just get involved that way, made me want to connect more and help out and continue to share my story because I had been sharing my story for years [00:04:00] and I wanted to let people know the importance of donating blood. And so being connected, has helped me do that more. And so I just wanted to continue to do that and push that to the community.

Edgar: No, that's amazing. You know, you say you worked for a nonprofit before, what was that nonprofit?

James: So the nonprofit is Sickle Cell Warriors of Wisconsin. They do a lot of community engagement and bringing awareness about sickle cell. So, I was at the right spot at the right time and got involved with them and then was able to go down to Versiti and get a look at what you guys were doing at Versiti. It was something I wanted to be a part of to help people with sickle cell, and that is by asking you, the community, to donate blood.

Edgar: And that's an amazing aspect that we're talking about it now we're bringing it up. People have already been trying to help other people, you know, you said the nonprofit reached out to other communities were doing the same thing and that's how we build that connection. That's how we connect with people, and that's how we spread the word. Now for sickle cell, a lot of people don't know [00:05:00] what that is. Can you elaborate on what it is?

James: Yeah. So sickle cell is a blood disorder that affects mainly African Americans or Hispanics. And it's, it's where your red blood cells change shape from round to sickle. And when that happens, it's because the decrease of oxygen in your blood and as sickle shape causes you know, blood to stop flowing through all your veins and arteries and when it happens, it causes pain. So you have to take different pain medications to deal with it, or you have to rely on hospitalizations to get IV fluids, medications, and then most importantly, blood transfusions to help you raise your hemoglobin level or help you raise your blood. So, that's pretty much in a nutshell, what sickle cell is. It's a condition that affects the red blood cells, when you lose oxygen and it causes pain.

Edgar: You mentioned it affects mostly the African-American community and the Hispanic community, you know, through our stats, we know that one out of 365 African Americans have sickle cell disease. And [00:06:00] then out of that one out of 16,300 Hispanic Latinos have sickle cell disease. So the majority of it comes from those core groups. From what we've seen here at Versiti, what the world is seeing, those core ethnic groups, aren't the ones donating. Most of our blood that comes here in the United States comes from the white Caucasian groups, and unfortunately people need people directly from their own ethnic groups, you know, African-Americans need African-American blood. And I'm not saying that you can't accept blood from other people, but your antigen is underneath your, A, B, AB, O blood groups have like special characteristics, you know, and those special characteristics match better with people who are like you. And that's the message that we're trying to spread a lot. Out of all the donors that we have, which is roughly, I want to say less than 15% of the, of the United States who are eligible to donate, donate blood. And out of that small [00:07:00] percentage only 4, less than 3% of that blood is African-American blood and then out of total minority group, less than 5 percent of minorities in the United States donate blood. And we need that blood to help resource, to help patients, especially people like James Griffin who require daily, weekly, monthly transfusions, and not only one unit, two units, but multiple a day, and James, I wanted to ask you, you know, there's a special blood group, it's called Ro, are you familiar with Ro?

James: Yes, I am familiar with that.

Edgar: So Ro comes specifically from that minority population. From that African-American population, from that Hispanic population. And it's a really rare blood type, you know, it's a specific characteristic or antigen underneath your A, B, AB, O blood groups that help patients and sickle cell warriors like James Griffin. That's one of the rarest blood that we get. It [00:08:00] is very hard to get. How many transfusions do you normally get a month a week? Like, what is that kinda like that daily routine when you need transfusion or just medicines?

James: So for me, when it comes to transfusions, haven't been getting many as of lately. I've been getting about one or two a year.

Edgar: Okay.

James: So, and that requires two units for me. But in the past, when I was younger and my health wasn't as good as it is now, I would almost be in and out of the hospital monthly. So every other month it seemed like I was getting transfusions. You know, I relied on transfusions because I was in and out of the hospital monthly, but as I got older, and learned how to take care of myself with my illness, I haven't had to have as many, but I still rely on transfusions about once or twice a year. It's important for people to donate for me, and I see the difference when I get the blood, it helps me get back on my feet. It helps me relieve the tiredness, exhaustedness, [00:09:00] and that's how I kind of manage and get through my day to day, you know, life.

Edgar: Yeah, definitely. And while I'm happy to hear, that no longer that you're needing as much as possible or as much need as you once needed it, cause we have other sickle cell warriors that, we had them for different events to help Versiti and you can see a lot of our events on our Versiti page versiti.org/diversity. Sometimes we're contacting them, we're calling them and then they don't, they're not answering. We're like, okay, what's going on? And they're in the hospital. They just, out of nowhere, they just had like a panic attack or an attack and it can just happen out randomly. You know, we always need that those units there, available. Units of blood, only last certain amount of days on the shelf. Double reds is normally what we encourage for donors with the Ro, and those only last for a certain amount of days, so it's always needed, you know, it's always needed to have on storage. We need it constantly. That's why we always ask throughout the year, to donate it as many times as possible, [00:10:00] double reds, whole bloods, you know, a whole bloods you can donate up six times a year, double reds, three times. Now, James, with your connection with Versiti you know, we always do things to get the special communities involved in our diverse communities. We've done research, and how would you say is an important way to get the black community involved? Because the black and brown communities are the ones that are the front runners. You know, those are the ones that are affected most by sickle cell. And as I asked in the communities, most of them don't know what it is. And most of them don't know how close it could be to their family, to their friends, and how would you say is a good way for us to get involved or for us to include them in our mission?

James: I say, because of the lack of awareness and knowledge that people don't have about donating blood and the fear of doctors, I think it is good to be involved with the community as far as like going to the events that they hold. So like, specifically churches, a lot of people frequent the churches, visit churches every Sunday, that's a good way to [00:11:00] get involved, it's a lot of trust when it comes to churches. So, I think that's a good way to involve the people and give them material about what it's like to donate and you know, how you help somebody by donating blood and, and who's affected, you know, like sickle cell, if you say sickle cell, then you know, it affects African, community, so your blood is going to your own or, you know, you know who exactly you're helping. So I think just getting that material out to community function events, things like, um, Juneteenth day. We have a lot of people down there and they're, they're willing to, and looking to learn something new, learn about their culture, so that's a good way. The different type of festivals that go on throughout the year and just, staying involved with like the recs. So a lot of people use the Boys and Girls Club or different events like that. So I just think just finding where the community is at and bringing it directly to the community with the knowledge and information about donating blood, because I think it's the main reason why people [00:12:00] don't donate blood is because they're not aware. And that's my main thing. and that's my opinion and why I think people don't donate. So I think if we just bring the knowledge in, they'll be more willing to at least look at it. Cause a lot of people just don't know what's out there and don't know anything about it.

Edgar: No, definitely, and at least at Versiti, you know, we create a bunch of different infographics graphs, pictures to kind of show and educate, what Ro is and what sickle cell is and how does it affect. And you know, you mentioned Juneteenth. Juneteenth, is a massive holiday, you know, it's a massive celebration that celebrates on June 19th and Versiti had an enormous amount of drives, all folks on Juneteenth, the celebration, and we were able to bring in tons of people from different communities to donate blood, we answered questions. We answer, we talked about Ro, we talked about sickle cell and you know, we're always reaching out, and you know, this June, we had a great sweepstakes, that Versiti ran. It was rare shoes [00:13:00] for rare donors campaign. You know, it focused on certain endeavors and drives in the month of June, where for three week period, every week we offered a $500 gift card. And that $500 gift card was a $500 Nike gift card that you can use on any of Nike's promotions like websites, you know, and you can go buy whatever shoes that you wanted. And it was a huge, huge sweepstakes, huge campaign and brought in tons of people. And most importantly, it brought in tons of diverse donors, and tons of first-time donors. This special celebration, was just fun. people had energy, people were creative, they wanted to donate, they asked more questions and it's led to some of them returning to donate, you know, the sweepstakes wasn't the only thing that called them in, it might've been one of the entrance or one of the entry barriers for them, but over time, a couple of them have already started coming back. And they're like, yeah, I've learned so much, you know, I appreciate the sweepstakes, [00:14:00] I didn't win, or I did win. But, I have learned, I learned so much on that Juneteenth day and I wanted to give back more and I can't do it all the time. I can only do it twice a year, once a year, but that's fine. You know, we always start out slow once, twice, and we have people that donate once a year up to the full six times a year. And donating blood doesn't take long, you know, it takes roughly an hour of your day, the actual donation process only 10 days, and people were shocked to hear about that. They're like my family never donates, but I want to do it for the first time. Does it hurt? Does it take long? And as I was explaining, they were shocked to hear the answers. Going back to Juneteenth, that is something that we celebrate here at Versiti and we want to show that we celebrated, that we encouraged it, and it's a fun time, you know, hopefully next year we can have food out and people can donate and enjoy the time. A little bit of music and it's not through only us, Versiti itself like hosts, but we also do different partnerships with Michigan state university [00:15:00] in Michigan, and we continue to do that evolution. James, what is Juneteenth directly mean to you? Like, do you celebrate it, do you not? Like what, what is it to you?

James: Oh yeah, I definitely celebrate it. It's a cultural thing It's just good to be out there, and just to know like what that day means about us being free as a people. And so I always take the time to go down there and just learn and cause it's a lot of black businesses that's down there. So it's a time to support, see what's in the community, cause a lot of times I don't see these things normally, because, you know, just from the lack of promotional marketing from that standpoint, so it's, it's good to go down there and just be involved with the community and just see what's going on and learn from others and talk to others. So it's, it's a big thing for me and I always visit.

Edgar: And Juneteenth has been something that's been coming up recently, like, you know, it's been always a celebration that, mainly the black and brown community celebrates, but of nowhere just started getting buzzed. I know businesses are giving it out like, [00:16:00] Hey, Juneteenth, if you want to celebrate it, have the date off. You know, it's something that's growing big, there's a show on Netflix, that they've completely celebrate it fully. You know, they have a party that barbecue, as you said, it's about the free and what the meeting is for, and it's something that's growing massively and businesses, cultures outside of the black and brown communities are also kind of learning in and kind of like, okay, I'm hearing this word a lot. What is it? And it's going from a little bit, just from that one day specifically, to multiple days a week, you know, it's celebration starts two weeks prior, and then that big day, June 19th, there's a big celebration or a big parade where families, you know, I've gone to a couple of celebrations where, all the families get together.

Someone brings a burger, someone bring hot dogs, you know, it's a big celebration and you know, it's fun, but there's always that meaning behind it. And you know, it's an amazing experience if you haven't experienced that yet, look into your neighborhood, learn about it, go [00:17:00] on Google and experience what Juneteenth is and what it means to not only the black and brown community, but the United States as a whole, but now it's something really massive and really, really special. But you know when I tie in the black and brown communities, I kind of want to not only spread the message of donating, but just getting involved if you can't donate. Being involved within your community, like standing out from the inside, like you're already in the community, you already have your friends and how you said churches are massively trusted in, in those communities, they have a voice, they have a message. But how do we spread that message and what message are we spreading? Whether it's, violence, whether it's, donating, how do we help each other in a way? You know, you said it again with churches but what other core groups do you think have that power, that message in that black and brown communities that we Versiti, or other organizations can connect with in order to spread our message or our visions?

James: I would say, look at different [00:18:00] fraternities. They're big on community work. So different fraternities, sororities, those are a big part, and they also get involved and do things. My brother's actually in a fraternity and a couple of years ago, he put on a bowling, for sickle cell. So, I think reaching out to those major corporations, I'm not sure where else, to go, like as far as community wise, but I know that's, that's the place to start.

Edgar: So fraternities and sororities are, are great, turning points. So I know for a fact, fraternities and sororities normally have their own kind of like their own non-profit that they work with, whether it's a church or organization, massive by Versiti, hospitals. So that is, that's an amazing point that you give us and, you know, leading to fraternities and sororities. Those are the younger people. Those are the future of our generation. Turning to that, our blood- the majority of people that donate are older, you know, they're that 40 plus age. Cause it was more of a norm or more [00:19:00] like acceptable back then, but it's not anymore. It's almost like we're like, you've done it in high school. I've done it in high school. You know, I got out of class, I got extra credit, you know, they're like, Edgar, do you want to donate? I'm like, do I want to donate? You can get out of class. Excellent. Sounds good. I'll donate. You know, but once you do that first initial donation, you're like, you never see it again. You know, you go to college, it was never, never a thing. Again, you never talk about. And, you know, you lose that. And that is something that we're trying to change, you know, unless you get back into it, whether you have a family, experience that happened, or, you know, you just come across it where you're donating, you realize how easy it is or how simple it is. The massive impact that it gives. We're connecting with not only fraternities on a college level, sororities in the college level, but also high school level, groups. And we, as the younger generation, the younger faces, you know, James you and me are the young, young people in our, in our world of donating, or world of health, how can [00:20:00] younger people empower other young people to donate or to spread word, to spread message. I know I've seen a couple, a couple of people on social media, Instagram, tik tok, you know, but just going door to door, you know, that simple, like how do you think, or how do you, how do you think the way that younger people should be spreading that message?

James: Yes. That's a great point you make with being involved with schools and reaching schools. I think younger people are more open to, to helping and, you know, so I think they have the tools and with social media, like you said to, to tell their friends that they're more willing to get involved and help out, and change the narrative we seen, like so many times things have been moved and rallies have been started by younger, the younger people. So I think it's, important that we do reach though, the younger people, because they're more willing to help out. They, they probably never donated before, but just the [00:21:00] sure thought of just helping somebody would make them want to donate again. And then, you know, like incentives, you mentioned earlier just getting out of school and getting out of class or, you know, just a gift card so that they're more willing to do it, and they have enough people to tell just because of their social network being younger. So I think it's important to reach the younger generation.

Edgar: And a cool way that we've been doing it is going in groups. So at least for me, like, you know, you go alone, you're just by yourself, but going in a group, five, 10 people, four people make a, make an appointment and just go together. You know, you sit next to each other, you talk. And an hour passes, and each of you gave blood, and of those 10 people, you could save 30 up to 30 lives, you know, for each unit that you give whole, whether you give, can save up to three lives, you know, so 10 people, 30 lives and it's easy, it's fun, it's comfortable. And you know, there's always something happening where maybe there's a potential that you can win a prize, but you [00:22:00] know, what I personally love is when, you know, you finished that donut, you know, you're having your snacks, your juices, and you're about to go and you post it, you post your experience on Instagram. I do a lot of Instagram and Snapchat and you know, I see people on Tik Tok doing it, but you kind of do like the hashtags, like blood, I tag Versiti hashtag Versiti and you kind of see the experience and that experience people see people sharing, you're like next time I want to go with you. I'm like, sounds good. No problem. You know, let's make it, let's make an appointment date, or I'll just go with you, accompany you, while you donate blood because, you know, it's those simple acts that keep spreading, that spread and spread and spread, spread, the awareness that we need. And, you know, you trust your friends and your family, more than any other group. You know, when they tell you it's okay for something that happened or it's okay to do something, you're okay with it. You know, you're like, yeah, let's do it. Why not? And you know, we always try to create those situations where we can be connected in that way. And that's why [00:23:00] we always share like, you know, being connected in your community, being one with the community, whether you're a person of business, you know, you mentioned, African-American businesses, that you can look on the web and see how many businesses are around you. And you know, that community is what makes everything special. You know, the health side to it, the fun side with, with games, restaurants, and then you, because you, as part of the community is something special when you have something special to give. You know, as we, as we come to this podcast, you know, I want everybody that's on this podcast to be thinking of ways that they can help in the future. You know, what can I do actually, now that will help better the future of myself, my friends, my family, my community members, as James Griffin, you know, our special guests here told us, like connecting with your businesses, with your churches, are an amazing way to not only help and give back, but there's [00:24:00] ways to find out new ways to give back. You know, you may be doing something now and, and things can change. You know, you can find a new way to give. James here has been not only a sickle cell warrior, but has experienced, you know, some of the bad sides to it, but it's also, you know, been a part of Versiti, you've been a part of the non-profit and Wisconsin where he shared his story, has reached out to people and has amazing, amazing, comeback and reception from all those great attributes. So James Griffin, it has been a pleasure talking to you. You know, as we go along this podcast, maybe we'll see you back soon to go over a couple of topics, but it has been a pleasure having you here and talking about your story, talking about ways the black and brown communities can join the mission, the fight that we are all going through in order to just spread awareness, you know, spread happiness, creativity and being part of the community itself. I want to thank you for being here as the first official guest on the Stand Out from the Inside podcast.

James: [00:25:00] Yeah. Thank you for having me. I was glad to come on the show today. When you reached out to me, I was excited and looking forward to it. And I just want to say this before I go. Like, like you mentioned, a lot of people think giving back involves money, but donating is one way you can give back without money. So it's a lot of different ways to donate and to give back. So just think about that. You can help a lot of people in a lot of different ways. So that's my parting words.

Edgar: No, amazing, amazing. Thank you so much. Yeah. Super important money isn't always the only way to give and yeah, giving time is also precious and giving, you know, multiple ways that you can give back, and as we go through these podcasts, you know, season one, episode one, we'll be diving in more to not only, the donating blood side, but you know, more community side, you know, the myths, the facts, the what's real. What's not real. Stay tuned for all the other podcasts that are coming up. You know, this is going to be an exciting first season, you know, here at Versiti [00:26:00] we've been thinking of many ways that we can connect with all of you, all of our guests, and this is the best way that we think we can do it. And, you know, hopefully this podcast makes you think makes you stand out from the inside, you're already in the community. How do you reach for more? So for the future, subscribe to all of our channels. Spotify, Google, go on YouTube. So stay tuned for coming up episodes, you know, season one is beginning and we're super excited for what the future comes, subscribe to all of our podcasts channels, and always be thinking of ways that you can stand out from the inside as a person who donates time, donates money or ways that you can be helpful to your own community because your community needs you. And you don't know that until whether something happens, but be always ready to help. And one of the ways to help is by going to Versiti.org and if you're in the Midwest, donate blood, donate time, be a person that shows the message [00:27:00] and follows through the mission and creates that urgency that we need throughout the black and brown community and not only that, but through our diverse communities.

You know, we're all here together. We all need each other. People need people. Our neighbors need each other. Our neighbors need neighbors, our communities need our communities and others around us. Thank you all for tuning in for the first ever episode of Stand Out from the Inside podcast presented by Versiti. I am your host Edgar Daggett, and I can't wait to see you next time.

So how did you find out that you had sickle cell? Like, how did that come up to be like a topic of conversation? Did you go to a hospital? Did you have an experience? Like how did that happen?

James: You see, I found out, My mother found out when I was younger, about two years old, she noticed that my hands were swelling while I was in the, in the house playing with my other siblings. My hands was swelling. And so she heard me crying and went to check on me and then noticed that my hands were swollen, [00:28:00] but she didn't know what it was. So it didn't go down for awhile, and she decided to take me to the hospital just to check up on it. And they ran different types of blood tests on me. And that's how I found out they, they knew it wasn't broken and didn't do any x-rays just from the feeling of it, but they did do blood tests and that's how I found out they ran some blood tests and it came back that I had sickle cell. And now that is one thing that they test early infants; they test infants early to see if they have sickle cell now. It's almost universal in all states.

Edgar: Oh wow, it must've been a scary time, you know, not knowing what something is. And maybe back then it wasn't talked about as much, this could be a very, very scary time. And you know, it's actually one in, I think out of 300 or one out of 13 African American babies actually carry the sickle cell trait, you know, and the difference between having the disease and the trait is that for a person to have the disease, you know, your parents have to both carry the trait and it's not [00:29:00] 100%, you know, if you have both the trait, if the both parents have the trait that your kids will have the disease, but there's roughly a 25% chance, but you know, most of the time, a one out of 13, you know, a baby will have the trait and it's good that we're testing for it because as it's coming up a little bit more and more. It's something super important that we need to figure out. We need to know. And you know, when you're a kid or when you become a young adult someday, you should know and be aware of, you know, but something came across my table that was super cool. James, do you have a book?

James: Yes, I do have a book. So I wrote a book on sickle cell a couple of years ago, and as the title of the book is "Breaking Silence, Living with Sickle Cell Anemia." And I just wanted to share my story, to get others, to understand what the illness really was. And so that's how I got involved with the nonprofits too. After sharing my story, I had a couple of reach out to me and people wanted to ask me questions about, you know, my life and [00:30:00] that, and that really was propelled me to write the book because I would always tell people with sickle cell, they didn't understand the everything it was about it. And they didn't understand that I had to go to the hospital for treatment and the use of blood transfusion. So I really wanted to put that all in the book to give knowledge.

Edgar: So is it like an autobiography or is it like a little bit about your story? And then it kind of shows like what sickle cell is like, explain to me because this is like super cool.

You know, what, what is about the book? Like if I'm reading and what would I expect to read?

James: So, yeah, you're going to find out about how I deal with living with sickle cell. So you'll learn about my, my life, different things that I went through, having an illness, how it affected me working, relationships, just my hospital stays. And then you learn also about the illness, like how people get it. And I didn't mention at the top, but it is a genetic illness. So most people don't even know how you get sickle cell, but it's a genetic illness and it's passed down from both parents. [00:31:00] So it's not that you can catch, you'll learn more about that, and just a lot of information about sickle cell and the treatments of sickle cell you'll learn about.

Edgar: So, you know, for my knowledge, what is it like writing a book? that's something like, you know, how long is it? You, you picture like what it's going to look like? Or what are people gonna react when they read about it? Like, what is it like, how does it feel to write a book? You know, that's something super cool that everybody can say, like, what is it like, what was it brainstorming? Were you brainstorming for a year? Did you have editors? Like what is that process?

James: Yeah. So it was a, it was a lot of writing. So it was a lot of me just write my thoughts down at first and just, you know, just wanting to get this out. So it took me two years, so it was just a lot of just writing in general, just writing and then putting stories together. After I wrote the book, put stories together and having an editor, I did have an editor for the book. And just it's a, it was a long thought process. And I actually just wrote the book for me just [00:32:00] to, just to tell my story and didn't even know if people would buy it or not, but I also wanted to help people at the same time.

So that's what kind of, why I wrote the book and it was received well, so that's, that was a positive feedback I got from putting that work in, but, you know, I enjoy writing and I would just write for, when I had the time to write and it just turned into a book.

Edgar: That's awesome. So if I want to buy your book right now, where would I go? Where can the viewers, the podcast listeners that are in the gym right now, listening to this podcast, where can I get this book to learn more?

James: So the book is out on Amazon. Now you can go on Amazon or any online bookstore and you can pick it up there. It's in two different forms. So e-book and paperback book.

Edgar: Ah, ebook. I do a lot of ebook. You know, you just carry your tablet or you have, sometimes Amazon has like the people that read it or that, and then you all, you have to listen to it, so when I'm in the gym, I just listen to the podcast or listened to a book super easy, but that's [00:33:00] amazing, James, thank you for sharing that.

James: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Edgar: Thank you, James Griffin. Thank you James, for joining this podcast, it has been an amazing experience having you here the first ever episode. First season of stand out from the inside, presented by Versiti. Thank you so much for being here.

James: Yeah. Thank you for having me. I think we have to do this again.

Edgar: Definitely, Definitely. Oh, well we'll have you back either this season coming up in the future, but everybody listening, please make sure to go get his book, "Breaking Silence, Living with Sickle Cell Anemia." It's available right now on Amazon. Thank you guys all for tuning in, make sure you subscribe to this podcast through all the podcasts channel Spotify, iTunes. We'll be coming out with new episodes throughout the year, talking about different effects coming and going through the black and brown communities. We appreciate you guys listening, watching here and remember to always be able to answer this. How do you stand [00:34:00] out from the inside? This has been presented by Versiti, I'm Edgar Daggett your host, see you all next time.

So make sure you get his book, but I want to thank you all for listening, subscribe to our future episodes and remember to always be able to answer this. How do you stand out from the inside? Your community needs you, you are special. Make sure you guys get his book. Thank you all for listening and subscribe to our later podcasts, you can, they are available through Spotify, iTunes, but make sure you're always able to answer this. How do you stand out from the inside? You know, you are special. You have something to prove and to give to your community and your community needs you. I'm Edgar Daggett. This is Stand out from the inside podcast presented by Versiti. We'll see you all next time. Thank you all for listening to the Stand Out from the Inside podcast presented by Versiti. I want you all to remember that you all are special in your own way. You all have something to give to your community and your community needs you. Stand out from the inside podcast [00:35:00] presented by Versiti I'm your host Edgar Daggett and we'll see you on next time.

Thank you all for listening to the Stand Out from the Inside podcast, this podcast will be available through all the podcast channels, Spotify, iTunes. So subscribe there. I want you all to remember and to be able to answer this question, how do you stand out from the inside?

You know, you are special. You have something to give, to offer to your community and your community needs you. This is the stand out from the inside podcast presented by Versiti. We'll see you all next time.

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