We at Patients For Affordable Drugs Now are heartbroken to learn of the passing of Clayton “DJ” Martin, 33, a Jacksonville, Florida father and sickle cell warrior.
DJ was a fierce advocate with Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. He was dedicated to fighting for an affordable and accessible cure for sickle cell. He graciously shared his fight with us, saying:
“As a result of sickle cell, I have also been diagnosed with avascular necrosis in my left hip and end-stage renal failure. It took me about seven years to complete my bachelor’s degree due to the setbacks and complications that come with sickle cell. An affordable cure would be monumental and would totally alleviate the pain many patients go through. Everybody who needs this cure should be able to get it, regardless of price.”
In October 2019, he visited the Washington, DC offices of his federal lawmakers to advocate for legislation that would make drugs more affordable. And earlier this year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, DJ penned a column for The Orlando Sentinel, about the impact Big Pharma has on Americans in the midst of a global pandemic.
“If big pharma is allowed to retain systematic control of the drug industry during this pandemic, it will not be just you or me that suffer the consequences, but the country as a whole,” Martin wrote. This September, DJ told his story with Florida voters in a video where he shared his love and worry for his daughter, who also lives with the sickle cell trait. He called on his fellow Floridians to join him in electing candidates who fight for patients like him.
DJ’s advocacy did not start nor stop with P4ADNOW, instead he spent his life dedicated to advocating for the lives of everyone fighting sickle cell. He founded the Benjamin Ivory Foundation to bring awareness to sickle cell and advocate for optimal health to people living with it — all in the name of his friend and fellow sickle cell warrior, Benjamin Ivory Reddick.
DJ Martin is the epitome of the advocate we all strive to be. He was kind, dedicated, and caring. We are so lucky that he devoted so much of his time to fighting for affordable drugs prices. His death is a loss to our movement, but he inspires us to carry on.
Our heart goes out to DJ’s family, friends, and all of the people whose lives he touched. He will be missed.