Ever wondered why I call my sickle cell awareness campaign #30forsicklecell? Well, September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month and it is 30 days long. Unfortunately, it seems that Sickle Cell only gains national attention for 30 days, and while I mainly run my campaign to raise awareness about sickle cell during the month of September, sickle affects my life everyday. Thus, I am always looking out for the well-being of my daughter who lives with the disorder.
Don’t only think about sickle cell and its global impact only during the month of September. I want my readers and their friends and families to think of people living with this genetic disorder and discuss whether you’ve been tested for carrying the sickle cell trait. I also want my readers to know that one of the most important actions people can do to help sickle cell patients is to give blood. Many patients with sickle cell, but not all, rely on blood transfusions to survive.
My #30forsicklecell goal is to help people understand that sickle cell disease is not just a black disease:
There is so much to learn about sickle cell, but most importantly, I want my readers to know that sickle cell is not a black person’s disease. Not too long ago, I watched Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court. A white female on the show had a son who with beta thalassemia. Beta thalassemia is actually a form of sickle cell. The National Institute of Health reported that “people with beta thalassemia, [have] low levels of hemoglobin [which can] lead to a lack of oxygen in many parts of the body. Affected individuals also have a shortage of red blood cells (anemia), which can cause pale skin, weakness, fatigue, and more serious complications. People with beta thalassemia are at an increased risk of developing abnormal blood clots.”
On twitter today some asked if people who are biracial can carry the trait or get the disease? Yes, there are different types of Sickle Cell Diseases, not just sickle cell anemia, and babies who are white, biracial, and other nationalities can also get the disease too and even give birth to children who may have the disease. Therefore, everyone should have their blood tested to see if they carry the trait.
Check out this story from one mom who is biracial and has a child with sickle cell disease.
— Cleverly Changing (@Cleverlychangin) September 13, 2016