Diagnosed within weeks of her birth, Sakaiyah Youk has lived with sickle cell disease all of her short life. The child of an African-American mother and an African-American father of Asian descent, she inherited one sickle cell gene, and one beta thalassaemia gene. The result is a sickle cell - beta thalassaemia variant of the disease that lands her in the hospital with acute pain when a “crisis” prevents her sickled red blood cells from passing easily through her veins.
My Cells are Red Bananas follows Sakaiyah and her experience of sickle cell disease. Told largely from her perspective, the film answers the questions: What does a sickle cell crisis physically feel like to her? What language does she have to explain it? How does she understand her illness? And what does she imagine it looks like?