If you have SCD, you must SOAR like Gail Campbell Woolley

SOAR like Gail Campbell Woolley

When Gail Campbell Woolley was seven, a pediatrician told her mother that Gail suffered from sickle cell anemia, a rare blood disease, and that she would be dead by age 35. While others may have responded to this horrifying news by descending into a fog of self-pity, Gail went in the opposite direction. She decided to live an eventful, exciting life that ultimately included–despite a troubled home life and the systemic racism and sexism of the late 20th century–academic success, animpressive career, a long and loving marriage, and the ability to leave her unmistakable stamp on every person she met. By the time she finally succumbed to her disease at age 58 in 2015, she had ground that doctor’s words into dust.

Soar, written in the last two years of her life, is Woolley’s powerfully inspiring story, and its publication checks the last item off her extraordinary bucket list, which also included traveling to every continent except Antarctica.

Woolley’s remarkable story not only will move readers to root for this irrepressible, quietly heroic woman but also will push readers to reassess their own approach to life.


Gail writes that from the time she was a child, she awoke every morning with the sound of the famous60 Minutes clock ticking in the back of her mind. But those ticking seconds also formed her indomitable spirit in ways that can inspire each of us who still draw breath. Written in an engaging, no-nonsense voice with a directness that reflects her many years in journalism, Woolley’s remarkable story not only will move readers to root for this irrepressible, quietly heroic woman but also will push readers to reassess their own approach to life.

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