Just like that, it’s September again – aka Sickle Cell Awareness Month.
Sickle cell awareness means shining a light on sickle cell warriors and revealing what life is like with the condition. Not just the science, but the real people dealing with it. This is our chance to drive the conversation.
So, thank you to all sickle cell warriors. Keep doing you! I look forward to seeing all the good that comes from this month.
Increased global awareness of sickle cell would be wonderful. However, the work does not stop there; awareness is only effective when it results in action.
I hope increased awareness leads to better treatments and lower rates of sickle cell. We need to stop the cycle.
We still have a long way to go toward achieving these goals, but we all must do our part to ensure we’re moving in the right direction.
We can take action to improve the quality of care that sickle cell patients receive by:
- Signing petitions
- Writing to members of the government to take action
- Donating to charities and hospitals
- Going out of your way to check on the person you know with sickle cell, and asking how you can help them
Decreasing the number of people born with sickle cell largely depends on knowledge. In many cases, neither parent was aware they carried the sickle cell trait before giving birth to a child with the full-blown condition. This is why it is extremely important for people to get tested to see if they carry the sickle cell trait.
Once people know if they have the trait, they can make more intentional choices about who they start a family with and the methods they use to conceive children (in vitro fertilization, for example). Ultimately, the chances of giving birth to a child with sickle cell are reduced. Even if children are born with the condition, the parents will be better prepared to raise a child with sickle cell.
To achieve this, we must encourage people who are unaware of their sickle cell genotype to get tested. That is what I am focusing on this month.
What do you hope to see from increased awareness levels? Please share in the comments below!
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.
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