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Cassandra Trimnell was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia in 1987 when she was just a baby.

She inherited the gene that causes this disease from both of her parents, meaning she has sickle cell type SS.This means she can experience the worst symptoms — including fatigue, extreme joint pain, anemia, and infections — at a higher rate.  

She's not the only one with sickle cell in her family either. Her younger sister Joanne was also born with it, and two of her other siblings have the trait, which means they don't have the disease but can pass it along to their children.


While she never had that shocking moment of hearing her diagnosis for the first time, she always knew she was different.

Cassandra as a child. Photo via Cassandra Trimnell.

When she started school, she had to constantly drink water and stay inside during recess when it was too hot or too cold to avoid pain episodes. Kids would occasionally ask her if she was contagious. It all made her feel incredibly isolated.

She was always a lot smaller and skinnier than the other kids at school, which meant that others often treated her like she was more fragile.

As a kid she also regularly felt sick and was in the hospital on a monthly basis. This often affected what she desperately wanted to do. For example, she was in a choir that was going on tour for which she had been planning and practicing for months. However, on the day they were supposed to leave, Trimnell was in the hospital.

Cassandra (left) with her sister Joanna. Photo via Cassandra Trimnell.

However, her mom was wonderful about helping her cope with the disease, and most importantly, she didn't treat her like she was going to break.

"You’re not like everybody else," Trimnell recalls her mom saying. "You need to look out for yourself. Look out for your health."

One aspect of sickle cell anemia that makes it such a difficult disease is that its symptoms aren't always visible to others.

"It’s like you’re fighting these invisible demons that nobody sees," Trimnell says. "Some of my earliest childhood memories are being hunched over in excruciating pain thinking I was going to die," she says.

This lack of visible "proof" that sickle cell disease is debilitating is one of the more frustrating aspects of living with it. You might see someone with sickle cell going through a pain crisis, but from the outside it just looks like they're playing a game on their phone. That's actually a coping method.

"We’re on our phones playing games because we’re distracting ourselves from the pain," Trimnell says.

Cassandra in the hospital with her husband. Photo via Cassandra Trimnell.

While it is the most common genetic condition around the world, it's rarer in the United States, which makes it even less visible.

And the current lack of understanding about symptoms and treatment among the general publiccan go from irritating to downright scary when someone with the disease goes to the hospital. Sometimes emergency room doctors don't believe sickle cell patients are in as much pain as they are because they seem to be handling it OK, which in turn affects their care.

"If doctors don’t think your pain is serious, then you won’t get treated seriously," Trimnell explains.

This is why Trimnell is now committed to raising sickle cell awareness.

Trimnell and members of Sickle Cell 101 at the 2017 Health and Resource Expo at Lincoln Elementary. Photo via Cassandra Trimnell.

She launched her nonprofit, Sickle Cell 101, in 2013. The idea came from a college biology course and an Instagram account.

When her biology class got around to talking about blood disorders like sickle cell, she was shocked by how unfamiliar her classmates were with it.

So shedecided to get creativeto give people a better understanding of the disease.

She began posting a number of facts on Instagram and received an overwhelming positive response.

#SickleCell red blood cells can squeeze through most blood vessels! #SickleCellEducation

A post shared by Sickle Cell 101 (@sicklecell101) on

Just like that, she was on the path to raising awareness full time. And today, her nonprofit specializes in educating the sickle cell community as well as the general public on various aspects of the disease.

The goal is to help people with the disease be treated with more mindfulness, especially if they're children, which is how Trimnell should've been treated when she was younger.

Trimnell knows she's not like everyone else, but now she realizes it's better to talk openly about her disease rather than hide it.

Cassandra (left) with her sister Joanne. Photo via Cassandra Trimnell.

When she was little, she didn't mention it to friends because she didn't want to be pitied or treated like a patient. Today, she's constantly sharing the challenges sickle cell patients face so that kids growing up with the disease remember they're not alone.

She sends the same message to parents who've recently found out their child has sickle cell anemia.

"People have sickle cell all over the world. You won’t lead a normal life, but it’s not a death sentence."

The best way to live with sickle cell disease is to stay healthy, positive, and turn to the support of groups like Sickle Cell 101 and Sickle Cell Warriors.

For those who don't have the disease, the best way to support those who do is to read up on it.  The more people who understand it, the less isolated those living with it will feel.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75.

Lynch is part of a growing crowd of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory.

At first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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