Inspiring More Minds

    Being kind is not the same as being nice; you don’t always have to be nice, but you should always try to be kind.   Be brave. Try things that scare you.   Speak up for yourself and your friends.   Speak up to your friends when they’re causing you pain.   If you try and fail, cry about it, then figure it out and move forward.   Love people fearlessly, even after you’ve been hurt.   Be earnest.   Be present.   Give yourself room to grow.   Forgive yourself when things go wrong.   Remember that tomorrow is a second chance.    Be yourself.   Be as much of yourself as you want to be, all the time.   Be loud, be intense, be ambitious, be defensive, be sad, be angry, be unapologetic about anything you are that isn’t hurting other people — and when other people tell you that you’re hurting them, apologize and be better. --
by Amy Poehlery
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About the Founder

Inspiring More Minds was founded in 2013 by Bronwyn Scott, the following is her story:

I am a 35 year old Real Estate Agent that currently resides in Maryland. I was born and raised in New Jersey. Born with Sickle Cell disease I was given a life expectancy of only living into my teen years. When my sister was born with sickle cell disease, my parents were told she would be "crippled by 5 and dead by 10". Five years later when I was born, the life expectancy of an individual with Sickle Cell increased to the teen years.

As a person with Sickle Cell disease, I had a very painful childhood. I would have about three crises every two months that would last 3 -14 days each. Because of this, I never missed less than 48 days of school each year. However, I was always able to catch up with my schoolwork and maintain a decent grade point average. 

A typical crisis for me would begin with an overall tightness throughout my body. Then, anywhere from 2 minutes to 2 hours later the crisis would blow up to its full crippling effect. There are two ways to describe the pain.  Sometimes it felt as though someone had sand paper for hands and was giving me an "Indian burn" on what ever part of my body was in a crisis.  The other way to explain the pain was as though I was being beaten with big spiked clubs. They kept hitting me and just wouldn't stop. I would literally cry for the first 24 to 72 hours of a crisis with very little periods of relief from the potent anti-pain medication of Percocet or Tylenol 3, which were the drugs prescribed to me at that time. I would take it every 3-4 hours and still only received 10-20 minutes of relief. When in this type of pain I was most often unable to walk, talk, think, or really do anything but squirm in pain.  As embarrassing as it was I would have to be carried to the bathroom or use a portable potty on the bed.  The debilitating pain continued for the first 1-3 days and then the pain would gradually decrease a bit so that I was able to sleep in longer increments.

One vivid memory of these crises is asking my mother to kill me. I would beg her to please put me out of my misery and just kill me. At the time I was saying it, I was very serious because it seemed the only way to relieve my agony; the pain was so bad, I couldn't fathom why I would want to feel it again, which I knew, that no matter when I got better, I would always get sick again... I hated my life. But, it didn't matter, because I believed that God put me here and only God could take me from here. So since I was here, I would make the best of it.

I was so unhappy but still I fought my disease every step of the way. I tried to talk my way out of a crisis. I would never admit to being sick until I literally couldn't walk. Mind over matter. I tried all the time to tell myself that I wasn't sick, I don't feel pain. I would walk around my room in circles for hours saying to myself "I will not go into a crisis." Sometimes it worked, and sometimes I ended up on the floor crying. 

In high school, the most amazing thing happened. I started taking a drug called Hydroxyurea (my saving grace!) This proved to be the 'best thing since sliced bread' in my world. My crises decreased in both frequency and intensity. I used to say (and still do) that I just want to know what it would be like to be normal. What would it be like to wake up without being in pain or worrying about being in pain. To be able to get cold, or overtired without fearing a crisis coming on and having to spend the next week screaming in pain.

After high school and before the age of 25 I had the best time of my life. Thanks to Hydroxyurea I had only 3-6 major crises per year which generally lasted 3-7 days per occurrence. This was such a huge difference. For the first time in my life, I dared to plan. Then, during this time frame I further discovered the healing properties of IV therapy. When I started getting IV therapy at least once a month my crises decreased to 2-4 crises per year and lasted maybe 2-5 days per occurrence. My life was just getting better and better. I could work, I could plan, I could handle more pain as an adult. I was living for the first time in my life. 

Growing up with Sickle Cell you kind of think that after suffering with such a painful and terrible disease you couldn't possibly have anything else go wrong with you. Little did I know, there were oh so many more facets of Sickle Cell. There are many major complications that come along with the disease.

Having so many crisis as a child deprived my bones and organs of oxygen which, for me, caused major necrosis of almost every major joint and some minor joints in my body. At the age of 26 I was diagnosed with Severe Rheumatoid arthritis. This, almost broke me. The pain was different and nothing like Sickle Cell pain. In comparison Sickle Cell was a punch and RA was a pinch. However, even though that punch carries so much more immediate severe pain, that pinch never went away. It is a pain I have to deal with everyday in addition to the sickle cell pain and crises. 

Every sickler has different pain. Some of us have never experienced a severe crisis. Some of us have pain every single day. All of us have pain; most of us have another disease or other serious medical problems caused by the Sickle Cell crises. While people take for granted the ability to get up, take a shower, and get dressed; in a crisis, none of these things can happen. I understand how hard it is to believe that I can be at a concert one night and the next day I can't even dress myself. Well, that's how it happens, and you can't see a thing except the pain in my eyes or maybe hear it in my voice. I may not be swollen, there may be no broken bones or lacerations on my body, but boy oh boy does it feel that way. I describe Sickle Cell pain as someone hitting me with a spiked club over and over and over again. They won't stop and I can't get used to the piercing pain.

So my story is that I have Sickle Cell Disease and Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis which I deal with everyday. I have had pulmonary embolisms (very common for sicklers) which I am still taking Coumadin for everyday. I had my gallbladder (very common for sicklers) and appendix removed. I have a port-a-catheter in my arm ( very common for sicklers) due to the damage to my veins over the years. I have major necrosis in almost every major joint in my body including both hips, both shoulders, both ankles and both wrists. I have had both hips replaced (very common for sicklers) with five surgeries. Four surgeries (not common for anyone) on one hip and one surgery on the other. I have a dislocated wrist, more than eight infarctions (dead bones) and a collapsed arch in my right foot. I also have necrosis of the left shoulder so severe that I would need multiple bone graphs in order to get a shoulder replacement. Blah blah blah...

What this means is that I am in some type of pain 24 hours a day. This is just a snippet of what one person with Sickle Cell encounters within his or her daily life. Please read the testimonies of other sicklers so that you can understand the struggle.