Perhaps you have lost a loved one to Sickle Cell Disease; or maybe you know of someone who has battled this disease. As a person who has lost a loved one to SDC, I decided this article could not wait for a cure. Close your eyes and try to imagine this; more than 16,654 deaths have been linked to this disease. People, we are racing against a ticking clock.
SICKLE CELL DISEASE
The Sickle cell trait is an inherited blood disorder that affects 1 million to 3 million Americans and 8 to 10 percent are Black or African Americans. It has been reported that sickle cell disease (SCD) affects millions of people throughout the world and is particularly common among those ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa; Spanish speaking regions in the Western Hemisphere (South America), the Caribbean, and Central America); Saudi Arabia; India; and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy. It is estimated that over 100,000 people in the US are affected by this disease. The national median life expectancy is 42 – 47 years. Vaso-occlusive crisis is one of presentations and a leading cause of death.
SCD requires a medical diagnosis. Some symptoms include pain, dizziness, and low oxygen in the body, infections and fatigue. The patient may also experience sudden severe pain in the chest or in the joints. Watch out for blood in the urine. Also the symptoms can appear as common in delayed development, abnormal breakdown of red blood cells, shortness of breath, yellow skin, and jaundice of eyes, including inflamed fingers and toes. Other challenges include stroke and organ damage. Keep in mind, the pain of the SCD patient does not define them.
AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER? – Genesis 4:9
What is next? The answer lies in awareness, education and action. Can you imagine your child being born with a death sentence?
Here is our reality check: Fact is, SCD does not and will not receive the same public coverage as cancer research. (Allow that to marinate for a minute) As people of the village, we need to come to the table, totally embrace the SCD discussion, and develop a strategy for the cure of SCD.
The month of September is designated for National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. You don’t have to wait until then to act. Allow me to speak directly into the hearts of our religious and community leaders, educators, including local agencies, sororities and fraternities. I am advocating that you consider designating a day for SCD education and research. With your help we can “Break the Sickle Cycle.” Prayerfully, with SCD Research and a cure; our born and unborn babies shall proclaim “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” – Psalm 118:17. Yes, our babies matter.
For additional information, please contact:
The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America
7240 Parkway Drive Suite 180
Hanover, Maryland 21076