Name: Kehinde Salami
Likes: Jollof Rice
Secret Confession: Used to have a crush on the fun house twins, Melanie and Martina
When it comes to being an ambassador and advocating for sickle cell, I personally have noticed that there has always been more females being outspoken on this topic than males. Of the few men I do know who are passionate sickle cell ambassadors, I am thrilled to be highlighting this one for my second Spotlight Sunday.
Introducing founder and managing director of Sicklekan CIC and Sicklekan Sickle Cell Foundation, Kehinde Salami.
Different to a lot of sickle cell warriors who are diagnosed at birth and grow up knowing they have sickle cell, Kehinde went through his whole childhood unaware that he actually had it. Thinking back he can remember always feeling tired and having constant joint pain, but it wasn’t until Kehinde was 23 and starting his degree in Manchester that he found out he had full blown sickle cell.
As an adult, Kehinde manages his condition by doing the basics like wrapping up warm and drinking plenty of water. He also goes to the gym and as a proud Nigerian he reckons some of his countries popular dishes have a lot to do with how he stays well — I will be asking him for recipes, lol.
“Pounded yam and jollof has worked wonders for me!”
Kehinde started the Sicklekan organisation as he noticed there was no platform for patients with sickle cell to speak out and support each other. Through Sicklekan he has been able to support others in the same or similar situations, while also spreading awareness of sickle cell to the masses. More recently Kehinde and his charity have been a part of organising blood drives in order to encourage more people to donate blood and has been working with parliament regarding the BAME review and how they can recruit more black and asian blood, organ and stem cell donors.
As well as doing all of this, Kehinde is a youth / community worker and a father of two children; one of whom also has sickle cell. He says his children are his biggest inspiration and ensuring that sickle cell remains a major topic of conversation is something that keeps him going.
“My passion comes from my daily struggle with the condition, and overcoming it to be a better person, Dad and sickle cell advocate.”
Making sure that sickle cell disease becomes registered as a major disability is one of Kehinde’s end goals. You can support Sicklekan by making a donation to the charity and help to spread sickle cell awareness by purchasing their speak up for sickle cell merchandise.