Versiti - Marqus Valentine | Impact Stories

Marqus Valentine

Co-founder of Sick Cells, a non-profit dedicated to improving the care and quality of life for people living with sickle cell disease.

Marqus Valentine

Marqus Valentine is a co-founder of Sick Cells, a non-profit dedicated to improving the care and quality of life for people living with SCD, including ending the stigma of SCD, by shaping public policy and educating the SCD community as well as society overall. More information is available at

Marqus Valentine, Co-Founder of Sick Cells, was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia Hgb SS at 6 months old. As a child, he has had a tough time managing the disease and spent countless weeks hospitalized with chronic pain and strokes. Marqus persevered his rough childhood. Now at 33 years old he loves to share his story and help educate others.

Marqus serves on the Board of Directors and attends many media relations events for the Sick Cells organization. Marqus has worked tirelessly to build a community around the sickle cell disease and to unit the affect voices to increase awareness and impact.

The Sick Cells team and Marqus seek to elevate the voice of everyone in the sickle cell disease community.

When I have a sickle cell crisis, my body is not getting adequate oxygen and I am in terrible pain. In the past, at the hospital emergency room, staff have assumed I was a drug addict looking for a fix. Without my family to advocate for me, that ignorance could cost me my life. It is long overdue that these perceptions change because these moments have dire consequences for us all.

I am not alone in facing hurdles as a result of a lack of public and health provider understanding of my rare disease. The lack of public awareness, understanding and effective treatments are common problems shared by other people with rare diseases. That’s why I’m excited to meet with other rare disease advocates, so we can not only share our stories -- but join together to make real change.

Marqus’ family requested we leave this memory up for him and as a thank you to our donors

Impact Stories | Blood Donation

Elodie Ontala
Born with sickle cell disease, Elodie has stayed strong and active thanks to the generosity of blood donors.
Jackie Kold
“No matter how healthy you are, you never know when you or someone you love will need blood,” said Jackie. “I hope my story inspires others to give this special gift.” 
Mariah Roberts
Mariah is one of nearly 100,000 Americans who suffer from this life-threatening disease. Thanks to blood donors, she has a bright future ahead.
Whole Blood Donation
Volunteer to donate blood at a blood donation center near you. Find out how often you can donate blood and make an appointment to donate today.
Importance of Diverse Donors
Diverse blood donations improve blood transfusion outcomes for sickle cell patients and diverse blood recipients. Make an appointment to donate blood.
Impact Stories
Your blood, organ and tissue, and other donations directly impact lives in your community. Read a few of the examples of some of the lives that have been changed for the better.
Ways to Give
You can support Versiti’s mission in several ways, including donating blood, hosting a blood drive, joining the organ and tissue donor registry, and more.