Monday, October 31, 2011

Global Sickle Cell Awareness

My personal crusade is to have Sickle Cell Disease recognized as a “blood disorder” and not a “black disorder.” This is not to ignore the truth about its origin. In regions of the world where malaria is found, nature allowed a mutated red blood cell to exist which had a benefit of preventing malaria. While preventing malaria, the mutated blood cell was inherited and thus, Sickle Cell Disease became prominent.

What I am interested in is bringing awareness to the fact Sickle Cell Disease is found all over the world.

Yesterday, I read a story about a family from Cameroon who were being deported from England because they were illegal immigrants. That is not the whole problem; the issue was that their three-year old son suffered a sickle cell crisis and deportation proceedings were still continuing. The fact that the child was in the hospital in England, “not moving, with high fever” did not stop deportation proceedings. Education, compassion and awareness was needed in this case.

I read a story about a footballer born in France, playing football in Spain. While he was training with the national team in the high-altitude commune of Tignes, it was announced that he was dropping out of the squad due to suffering severe intestinal pain and stomach cramps as a result of the altitude. A follow-up medical check revealed that the injury required a significant amount of rest. His football club in Madrid later revealed that the injury was due to asthenic syndrome, a secondary condition related to sickle-cell anemia.

Shall I go on?

In these examples, Sickle Cell Disease appears in two different countries. As we bring awareness to this “blood disorder”, maybe that family from Cameroon might have been allowed to stay (compassionately) because their young son was too weak to travel.

And, the footballer in France might have been tested at birth, or prior to playing football like the NCAA does in the USA. He would have then discovered he had Sickle Cell Disease and also, through education, known he could not tolerate high-elevations.

We need global awareness, information, and communication. No shame, no stigma, no medical racism, AND no problem.

Did you know Sickle Cell Disease is found in many nationalities?

(Per Spanish reviewer) ¿Quién está en riesgo?
Muchas nacionalidades: Afro-Americanos, Latino Americanos, Italianos, Griegos, Árabes, Africanos, Caucásicos, Indios.

Yes, in Latin countries too!

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