Meet Tywanda: Accountant, Future CPA, SC Warrior


Our Warrior in the Spotlight for this week is an amazing woman. Tywanda is an accountant, who has sickle cell, and she doesn’t let SC keep her down. Read more of her inspirational story below.

Hello, my name is Tywanda, and my type of sickle cell is SC disease (Hb SC).  I always knew I had sickle cell.  God and my relationship with God has been the crucial element in my life and in all of my endeavors.  Even though both of my parents are now deceased, they were very instrumental in my life and my perseverance in life.  Growing up my mother was very instrumental in making sure I stayed caught up on my work when I was sick and in making sure the school recognized that my absences were legitimate, and she made sure the school sent a “home school teacher” to me when I was out of school for more than a week.  I made my career choice independent of the disease.
My family always filled me with the confidence and the needed tools to succeed even with my disease. I was taught to use my disease and it’s complications as a driving force behind what I wanted to do.  In fact, I believe having sickle cell developed a determination, stubbornness, a drive, and a press to succeed and do all that I want to do even if I have to do it in a different manner.  Having sickle cell taught me that it doesn’t matter which road you take just as long as you reach your destination.

I am an accountant pursuing my certification (CPA).  To be an accountant a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a finance related field is needed.  To become a CPA, which I hope to be within 1.5 years, a certification exam must be taken.  The qualifications to sit for the certification exam varies from state to state, but in the majority of states, the requirements are a bachelor’s degree and a total of at least 150 semester hours (which generally means a master’s degree) from an accredited university/college; 51 of these hours have to be in accounting and accounting related subjects.  To obtain the CPA, all 4 sections of the exam must be passed with at least a 75% and complete a home study course in professional ethics, and must have 2,000+ hours in accounting related experience (certified/endorsed to by a licensed CPA).  I currently work in two different areas of accounting, grant accounting and not-for-profit accounting (my passion).  It is my goal to open my own accounting firm within the next 2 years.
I’m not going to front; it gets hard sometimes to manage sickle cell crises while still excelling at work; but it is possible. Because of my disease, I have to work harder and find innovative ways to continue to work, even if it’s from the hospital bed.  I’ve invested in technology that goes everywhere I go.  I work from my laptop and Blackberry cellphone while I’m at my many doctors’ appointments, in clinic getting treatment, and in the hospital during crises.  This still doesn’t stop all of the issues that arise.  There are still managers and bosses who don’t understand and don’t think you should get special treatment, i.e. the ability to work from home and miss more days from work without consequences.  Because of this, there are many days I am forced to go to work and function at a high level even though I’m in excruciating pain.  I have chronic pain from poor treatment when I was younger, and I have regular pain 2 to 3 days a week.
During these times, God, my prescription medications, and my sickle cell center at Johns Hopkins Hospital has helped me to work, survive, endure, and succeed. Following doctors’ orders, being truthful with the doctors, going to all appointments, taking all prescribed medications, getting enough rest, staying hydrated, and staying as physically healthy through diet and exercise as possible are all critical.  I’ve found that, even though managers and bosses have a hard time understanding, my coworkers are always empathetic, loving, kind-hearted, and willing to help in any possible way that they can.  Anyone with sickle cell can be an accountant, you just have to be willing to work even when in unbearable pain and from the hospital bed in order to meet deadlines imposed by the government, IRS, your state, or your client.
The only limitation in my life that is made by sickle cell are in relationships.  This limitation is minor, but it is there.  As a sickler, you always have to be aware of who you’re dating and/or wanting to marry because they need to be tested for the sickle cell trait or the disease so that you can plan accordingly when trying to decide to have children with this person or not.  The other relationship limitation is having a significant other who can handle their girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s illness and all that comes along with it.  However, these limitations, as well as any obstacle, can be overcome successfully.  [stextbox id=”alert” color=”000000″ bcolor=”000000″ bgcolor=”4677e1″]I overcome obstacles by never giving up and by being patient.  I draw strength from God and all the wonderful people who have been placed in my life.

I keep pressing to overcome all of life’s obstacles by always remembering that there is nothing that is impossible.[/stextbox] So, if you’re a sickler or not, please always remember:


  1. Hey Tywanda, I am a sickle cell patient living in md and a CPA. My advise for you is to keep up your attitude and it will surely see you through the frustrating CPA exam. God Bless!


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