September is Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month. A disease I gave little thought to until last Saturday, when I listened to the speech by the president of Prosper Foundation for Sickle Cell (Lady Jane Ekwonye)
Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited disease that affects our hemoglobin. Inherited means it is passed from mothers and fathers to their children. She talked about the pain the son went through living with sickle cell until he had a bone marrow transplant. Prosper also described the pain he went through as unbearable.
If you are African or African American getting screened to know your sickle cell status is extremely important at child-bearing age because SCD and SCT can be passed down to children through their parents’ genes. Knowing if you have sickle cell trait is important because you could have a baby with SCD if your partner also has SCD, SCT or another abnormal hemoglobin gene (like hemoglobin C or Beta-thalassemia). All newborns should be screened for sickle cell, even if they look healthy. If left undetected and untreated, SCD can lead to severe health problems and even death, early in childhood.
For more information please visit: Prosper Foundation for Sickle Cell