By Lindiwe Vilakazi
Across the United States, more than 100,000 Americans live with sickle cell disease. The month of September honors the struggle and journey of sickle cell survivors, and this month, the national nonprofit membership organization Sickle Cell Disease Association of America is holding events and activities throughout the month to educate and support people and families facing the disease.
The inherited blood disease causes red blood cells to form a sickle shape, leading to blockages preventing blood from properly circulating through the body. The often painful illness can create significant complications, including gallstones, anemia, jaundice, stroke, organ damage, chronic pain, and even premature death.
“Now is the time to unite on behalf of the Americans who live with sickle cell disease, many of whom suffer in silence,” said Regina Harfield, president and CEO of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.
District residents are encouraged to join the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and others working to fight the disease. The association also encourages people to learn more about the critical treatments to sustain sickle cell patients, and potentially donate blood to help those in need.