dancer with sickle cell disease

Child Health | 4 years ago

The Dancer With Sickle Cell Disease

Aspiring dancer and published author Brandon McCoy has sickle cell disease. But he doesn’t let that get in the way of pursuing his dreams. Brandon’s ultimate goal: to turn his passion for dancing into a career so that he can help those with serious diseases. 

Dancing is Brandon McCoy’s passion. He’s won dance competitions that have enabled him to travel and go on photography and video shoots. He’s also written a book. All pretty impressive for a 19-year-old. Did we mention that he also has sickle cell disease?

As Brandon says, “I love to dance and inspire people – to show them that no matter what sickness you have or whatever you go through, you can make it.” 

Brandon, like many patients with sickle cell, receives treatment from multiple specialists at Levine’s Children’s Hospital. But he says that his condition doesn’t hinder his dancing. Not that his life has been without struggles. Brandon’s book, My Battle with Sickle Cell, chronicles his childhood journey with sickle cell and his accomplishments in spite of it. 

In his book, Brandon explains how he had frequent pain crises and hospitalizations growing up. His parents told him he was different from other children. But Brandon says he wanted nothing more than to be like everyone else. He tried to act like other kids his age and engage in the same activities. He adds, “I always kept a big smile on my face. That showed everyone that God is on my side and nothing could stop me.”

Brandon says he wrote his book to encourage others with sickle cell, to remind them they aren’t alone, and to urge them to stay strong and follow their dreams. 

Brandon doesn’t just speak those words of encouragement and determination – he lives them. He’s working hard to turn his passion for dance into a career. But he’d like to be recognized for more than his footwork and fluid moves. 

“I hope and I pray that one day I can make it so I can just help change the world. I want to be known for helping people out, giving back.” More specifically, he would like to help those suffering from cancer and other serious diseases.

Brandon says he still gets tired from sickle cell. “But I haven't had a crisis for about 8 years now so that's great for me.” He says staying active, drinking plenty of water and staying out of the cold are keys to managing his health.

If there’s one word you won’t hear in Brandon’s vocabulary, it’s ‘limitations.’ When asked if there is anything he doesn’t do, he doesn’t miss a beat. “Not that I know of,” he says with a big smile.