June 19 is World Sickle Cell Day: Spreading Sickle Cell Disease Awareness

June 19, 2022 will be recognized as World Sickle Cell Day. This international event is intended to help spread awareness about sickle cell disease among the general public and in the medical field. Patients, caregivers, and families affected by this illness continue to face unique challenges.

About Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is a genetic, inherited disorder of the blood. This disorder is characterized by an abnormality affecting hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells and is responsible for carrying oxygen. The abnormality causes blood cells to lose their typical circular shape and instead take on an elongated, sickle-like appearance. This is caused by a genetic mutation that may have arisen as a defense against malaria, although this benefit only occurs in people with sickle cell trait, not the disease. Symptoms begin to appear at around six months old and include swelling of the hands and feet, stroke, bacterial infections, and acute episodes of severe pain termed sickle cell crisis. Severity of disease varies, but these attacks can result in serious declines in health and organ damage. Treatment is mostly symptomatic, but bone marrow transplant has been curative in children. The disease most frequently affects people of African ancestry. Life expectancy is between 40 and 60. To learn more about sickle cell disease, click here.

Get Involved

This year, the Shine the Light on Sickle Cell campaign aims to bring the spotlight onto World Sickle Cell Day. Community organizations are coming together to organize for this event. To learn more about it, click here.

You can also play your part by participating in the Walk with the Stars fundraiser, which kicks off on June 19. You can walk, dance, run, or bike as part of this event. This fundraiser is a major source of support for the sickle cell disease community. To learn more about Walk with the Stars, click here.

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