Sickle cell disease doesn’t stop Charlotte’s ‘The Lion King’ star

The hometown Broadway actor, who plays Young Simba in “The Lion King,” credits his mother and tour wrangler for helping to monitor his illness.

Ramon Reed stars as Young Simba in “The Lion King” at the Belk Theater through Sept. 9. (Photo courtesy of Rosalyn Hart)

Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that affects about 1 in 13 African-American births, including 13-year-old Charlotte native Ramon Reed. Reed spent the past year starring as Young Simba in the touring production of “The Lion King” before landing the same role on Broadway this summer. He asked to leave New York briefly so he could perform in the Charlotte production playing at Belk Theater through Sept. 9.

Reed says that temperature changes can trigger some pain and exhaustion, but he’s learned how to manage his illness despite a grueling performance schedule. He spoke with WFAE reporter Gwendolyn Glenn about living with sickle cell anemia, his Broadway experience and returning to Charlotte.

Listen to the interview here.

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