My heart aches right now as we mourn the passing of one of our own. Even though sometimes it is the hardest thing to get up in the morning, sickle cell warriors do so. Through their actions, even that small action, they inspire a generation. I always say that Sickle Cell Warriors are the most courageous, valiant heroes one can imagine. Jasmine Bailey was such a warrior. Although she is just our age, Jasmine was absolutely fearless. She was a true shining spirit, and could always be counted upon to give you an encouraging word, solid advice, and a listening ear. Whenever she was sick and hospitalized, she would still reach out to others, and give them succor even though it was 3AM in the morning.
24 years old. Jasmine was on this earth just for 296 months, 1287 weeks, 9,010 days. In less than 12,975,000 minutes, Jasmine gave a voice to the voiceless, illuminated a pathway, and inspired an entire generation. She is gone too soon, but she will forever be remembered. #SheDidThat
My dad always says the measure of a person is what how they act in their quiet moments when nooone is watching. Jasmine was always there for others, and she gave so much hope, strength and inspiration, never expecting anything in return. And when it was time for her to get on the main stage, she did so, as she did all things, without pompous arrogance, but with serene grace, strength and indomitable will that lets nothing stop her.
Those of you in the sickle cell advocacy world know Jasmine Bailey. And those of you that don’t…allow me to introduce her to you. Watch the video below and you will see why, although heaven gained an angel today, we lost a leader.
She was the first non-celebrity to put Sickle Cell on the map in the United States. She competed in Russell Simmons Def Jam Poetry show, and was on several episodes. The one most notable was her appearance on “Brave New Voices” which aired on HBO. She was on the show for several weeks, and did very well. Her poem is still on YouTube today.
I remember the greatest pride and joy I felt when I saw her on the show. It was as if she was me, talking about my experience. That moment crystallized my belief that we are so very connected by the strand of our DNA. She made me so proud in that moment, and every time I watch that YouTube video. When I talked to her on the phone, I expressed these same thoughts. Jasmine laughed and told me that, “It isn’t that big of a deal. All I did was tell my story.” Her humble response struck a chord with me. She really didn’t fully realize the impact she had made in the lives of so many people affected by sickle cell disease. An impact that is felt all over the world. Her video is still one of the most watched-most talked about videos on YouTube about sickle cell disease.
My heart aches right now. I found out about her passing just a few moments ago and I was so shocked. She was an amazing spirit, so positive, and always full of life. She contributed often on the Sickle Cell Warriors Facebook page with the best and most thoughtful advice to others. I always had it in mind that we would meet in person one day. I can’t imagine what her family and friends are going through right now, those who knew her the best, will miss her the most.
I can never be as eloquent as Jasmine, and but we at Sickle Cell Warriors mourn her passing and will feel the Jasmine-shaped hole in our community and in our hearts. Goodbye valiant warrior. Your pain is no more. You have illuminated our way, and showed us that not only is it okay to talk about having sickle cell, but as a Warrior, we should shout it from the rooftops. I love you fair sister-in-blood. Although we never met in this life, we will meet on the other side. Rest in Peace.