Passing on Sickle Cell to your Children

Passing on Sickle Cell to your Children

Warrior parents, can you relate to feeling like this? How do you cope? What helps you get through these feelings about passing on sickle cell?

Jourdan Dunn feels as if she passed sickle cell disease on to her son, Riley Dunn. The model-turned-actress recently told The Sunday Times magazine about the guilt she felt after her son was diagnosed with the condition.


“I was going through a lot of guilt and shame because I felt I’d given this to my son – I have the [genetic] trait – and I had to hold that in,” Jourdan shared. Riley was diagnosed with sickle cell disease when he was 6-months-old. Doctors believe the model’s son was born with the condition.

“I knew there was a possibility that I was carrying a sickle cell baby because both his dad and I have the trait,” Jourdan Dunn shared during an interview with Vogue. “But of course, I always had it in my head, ‘No, not my baby. That’s not going to happen to me.’”

Making Adjustments

Dunn has made several adjustments to cope with her son’s diagnosis, which has included working her career around Riley’s visits to the doctor. Jourdan recently announced her departure from the fashion industry in pursuit of an acting career.

“A shift is happening in my life at the moment,” Dunn told Harper’s Bazaar. “Before lockdown, I decided I wanted to take the time to focus on acting,” the celebrity shared. “When lockdown happened, it felt like the perfect time to dedicate to it. I started therapy … I feel like I’m building the foundations for the next stage in my life. Fashion will always be there, but I want to dive into something new.”

Jourdan Dunn also commented on her desire to enter the acting arena for the sake of her son. “I have visions of me on stage,” the celebrity mom said. “Also, I need to be in a Marvel film so my son can think I’m the coolest mum ever,” Dunn declared.

In addition to building a career in entertainment that her son loves, Jourdan Dunn also works to teach Riley the importance of self-love. “My self-talk when I was younger was so negative,” Jourdan told The Sunday Times.

“The lessons that I’m learning, I’m making sure that I’m teaching them to Riley. Love starts with self. I will get mad at Riley if I hear negative self-talk like, ‘Oh, I’m so rubbish!’ I’m, like, ‘Riley, Riley, don’t say that!’”

Photo: Jourdan Dunn/Instagram

SCW Team