I’m sure many of you have heard of Breast Cancer awareness month in October. However, not many are aware of sickle-cell awareness month in September. In the month of September, like many other causes, there’s a walk to raise awareness and funds. In the DC metropolitan area, it’s the Stomp Out Sickle Cell walk. This year I am participating as a walker. My goal is to build a team and get people to walk with me and/or donate for a cause.
What is Sickle Cell?
There are four types of sickle cell, Sickle Cell Anemia, Sickle Beta-Plus Thalassemia, Sickle Hemoglobin C Disease, Hemoglobin D disease and Sickle Beta-Zero Thalassemia. Although the walk aids all forms of sickle cell, for the purposes of this blog, I will briefly inform you of sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder when the body makes an abnormal type of hemoglobin called hemoglobin S also known as sickled cells. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that helps in transporting oxygen through the body. People with sickle cell inherit two genes of abnormal cells from their parents. So not only does the person have anemia, which is a low count of blood cells, they also are making the ‘wrong’ type of red blood cells. These sickled cells have a hard time passing through blood vessels and get stuck. Tissue that doesn’t get the right amount of blood, can become damaged, this causes further complications. Such complications include jaundice, acute chest syndrome and the formation of gallstones. Additionally, low oxygen levels can cause pain crisis which are severe pain episodes.
Effects on the affected
No two persons with sickle cell have the same complications. Frequent hospitalizations are not out the ordinary for persons with sickle cell. Sicklers often miss days, sometimes-even weeks of school and work due to pain crisis and other complications. Treatment for people with sickle cell starts with diagnoses as newborns with penicillin, to prevent infections. Blood transfusions may be administered in addition to pain medicine in the case of a severe crisis.
How to get involved with the walk
“The stomp out sickle cell walk is a 5K Walk/Run. A walk from Freedom Plaza, Washington, DC on Saturday, September 15, 2012 to bring awareness to the disease for which there is still no universally available cure.” (SOSwalk.org) There are three options for someone who wants to participate in the S.O.S walk: volunteers, walkers, and sponsors. I will be participating a walker. If you are interested in walking you can sign up here. My group name is Ade. If you won’t be able to make it, you can still get involved by sponsoring my group and donating to the cause by clicking here. In the box where it says ‘designate my donation to’ type in ———–. Then after you’re done, share this post and get your friends and family involved. Ask them to donate! Every penny counts!
In the United States about 1,000 babies are born with sickle cell disease each year. Approximately 70,000 – 100,000 individuals in the United States have sickle cell disease and 3 million have the sickle cell trait. Carriers of the trait are generally healthy but still must be cautious. The NCAA recently made it mandatory for athletes to be tested for the trait after eight athletes died from overexertion, a complication of sickle cell trait.
Currently, there is no cure for sickle cell. The main goal of the walk is to raise awareness in the DC metropolitan area of sickle cell disease. Additionally, the walk raises funds to do further research. The closest thing to a cure is a bone marrow transplant, which is very risky and can result in death. Research like this has been able to happen due to people who have sponsored walks like this in the past. So imagine if you were working out and you passed out mid-workout. This can be prevented with the help of the Stomp Out Sickle cell walk, an opportunity for the community to come together, raise awareness and funds to further life changing research.
Join me as I prepare for the 5k walk. I will be posting my running regimen soon! Make sure to sign up, create your own team even and get your friends involved!
- Living With Sickle Cell Anemia (poeticjourney251.com)