A woman with a rare illness no longer lives on a “constant treadmill of being tired” thanks to a revolutionary new pill.

Dr Jennifer O’Connor is one of 17,000 people living in England with sickle cell disorder, which causes red blood cells to take on a "sickle" shape, break, and die early.

This leaves those affected with chronic anaemia and episodes of crippling pain - that can be life-threatening and frequently require hospital care.

Until recently, treatment has often meant blood transfusions, but some people have reactions to these, or do not wish to have them.

Jennie is one of these patients, as transfusions cause her to develop potentially life-threatening antibodies.

This meant that for many years, the academic was stuck on “a constant treadmill of being tired” as well as having to live with both acute and chronic pain.

But in 2022, Jennie was contacted by Dr Ryan Mullally from the Whittington Hospital, who told her that she would be a suitable for a new medication called Voxelotor.

At the time, tit was available on a trial basis as a pill taken once a day – but it is now available on the NHS to all eligible patients.

Whittington Health has said that the pill could help up to 4,000 patients reduce the need for blood transfusions, and need fewer hospital appointments.

Sickle cell disease is generally more common in people of Black African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and South Asian heritage.

For Jennie, who is of British Jamaican heritage and has lost two siblings to the disease, the pill has been life-changing.

Having being diagnosed at birth, Jennie claims that for the first time in her life she has felt “normal”.

Jennie explained: “It was only a matter of weeks before I felt a very positive impact, which was confirmed by my haemoglobin increasing.”

She added: “I felt increased energy, less tired, less fatigue and over time the level of chronic pain reduced.

“My pain medication has reduced significantly and there have been no acute crisis episodes.

“My overall quality of life for the first time felt ‘normal’ and my family noticed the changes. It’s now a matter of learning to thrive with this new normal.”