Written by: Halimat Olaniyan
Wunmi Bakare is a superstar! She was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at 18 months old but didn’t know until years later when she was nearly a teenager. This is because her parents choose not to tell her of her diagnosis. They didn’t want her to live her life believing she couldn’t do things because of her disease. This lead her to greatness and becoming truly unstoppable.
Wunmi started working in NPR in her junior year of college. There were strict deadlines and set schedules she couldn’t break so she’d do the work before it was due in case a crisis or something else happened, she didn’t fall behind. Smart thinking!
But her life didn’t stop being busy when she graduated. As an entertainment publicist, she was on the road a lot touring. Sometimes she found it to be tedious but music is her first love. Marrying music and communications is where she wanted to be but she always had a crisis wherever on a tour. In her mid-twenties she realized her health couldn’t keep up. She didn’t let this stop her though.
She transitioned to beauty PR. That’s the best thing about her line of work, she can adapt her skills in other types of media or depending on her interest. She turned her attention to beauty and fashion.
Her life changed forever again after she joined a clinical trial and received a bone marrow transplant curing her of sickle cell. After she did the transfer her business had to fall back so she stepped back from the agency she started.
Even though her treatment was curative, she still struggles from all the pain and damage 30 years of sickle cell had inflicted on her. Life after sickle cell still involved dealing with the consequences of sickle cell.
In the pandemic, she started working remotely. People with sickle have known how to work remotely and on the go way before it was a thing. She turned her passion towards spreading awareness about sickle cell and sharing stories like her own. Her goal now is to help show the gamut of sickle cell patients and maybe finally get health professionals to see the patient before the disease. Wunmi believes sickle cell patients are thriving and wants everyone else to know it too.
More about Wunmi:
Title: WBPR Agency Director, President of Gift of Adoption WA
“My parents didn’t tell me I had sickle cell.”
“You can have a full fledge career and have sickle cell. Sometimes we create limitations in our minds. I want sickle cell patients to not compare themselves to anyone else and work with your disease. I had to learn her. And when I understood her I could really be great.”
“Everyone is juggling balls but you need to know which ones are bouncy or glass.”