By Jonathan CHASTE
“SS” are two twin letters in the bodies of twin sisters Linda and Julie Pandyh, but, as the saying goes, “together, we are stronger.”
Some may have already heard of these 2 letters, “SS.” Behind them hides a terrible disease, called sickle cell disease or sickle cell anemia.
Yes, the two twin sisters are suffering from this genetic disease, which is wreaking havoc in the world, yet remains unrecognized and considered the disease of Blacks.
Linda and Julie are from Senegal. They lived there until the age of 6, which means they had already surpassed the life expectancy for children in many parts of the world who have sickle cell disease.
Their parents made the choice to emigrate to France to have their daughters treated. The disease had already started to wreak havoc in their bodies: indescribable pains throughout the stomach, the bones, the joints, the vital organs.
“It’s as if my bones are being broken with a jackhammer;” “They pierce my body with a hot iron;” “I want to die because I am in so much pain.” Those are the words of children with sickle cell disease.
Despite a chaotic childhood, a lot of missed school, and frequent hospitalizations, the girls never gave up. Now they see how their illness can be their strength.
Their exterior and interior beauty did the rest: Why not become a model? At the same time, they publicly talked about living with sickle cell disease, showing the world that you can be sick and still fulfill your dreams.
The twin mermaids paraded their fashion together for the first time in 2020, at the town hall of the 10th arrondissement of Paris, for the “Mix-Tissage” collection. Created by the famous Senegalese stylist Sadio-Bee, which is made up of ready-to-wear lines that subtly mix the creativity and influences of traditional and modern African cuts.
Armed with their own will, these two naiads will rub shoulders with seasoned models as they strive to become the future Maud Adams or Alessandra Ambrosio, who dazzled parades around the world with their talent and grace.
They are also parading to bring sickle cell disease out of the shadows with Jenny Hippocrate’s Association pour l’Information et la Prévention de la Drépanocytose (APIPD), which the twins became members of a few years ago.
Through the association, they’ve demonstrated that people with sickle cell disease are capable, just like any other healthy person, of doing beautiful things as long as they are given a fair chance.
For more information about sickle cell disease, visit www.apipd.fr.