By: Patrice Rivers
Diabetes, Lupus, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Aids and Heart Disease are all recognized nationally to bring awareness to everyone, but what ever happened to Sickle Cell Disease? Is it not as important? When was the last time you read about Sickle Cell Disease in the newspaper/magazine or heard about it on the radio? Lives are taken away every day by this deadly disease and not enough people are unaware of its risks. It not only affects the African American population, but Hispanics, Puerto Ricans, Canadians, along the side lines of the Caribbean and Egypt as well as Ireland and of course Africa.
Sickle Cell disease is a very high-risk disease, like many other severe diseases, and should be well known across the nation. My heart goes out to all the Sickle Cell Warriors who are sick day in and day out and have to stay in the hospital for weeks or sometimes months. I’ve heard so many stories about Sickle Cell patients who endure pain every single day. It’s a stressful situation.
As a Sickle Cell Warrior myself, I haven’t experienced a pain crisis since I was twelve years old. By engaging with my association in my area, I can relate to other Sickle Cell patients and understand what they are going through, and it is important that others who do not have the disease are aware of what Sickle Cell patients endure. Taking hydroxyurea (a chemo-based medicine used for cancer patients decreases the number of blood transfusions in Sickle Cell patients and creates more hemoglobin in the blood) can help reduce or minimize severe symptoms. I have taken it since I was twelve, and it has kept much of the symptoms dormant.
September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month, but you don’t have to wait until September to spread and promote the awareness! The best way to spread awareness is to get involved in your local Sickle Cell Disease Association chapter in your city. Volunteers are always needed for different events that each association plans. Every year just about every Sickle Cell chapter plan a walk/run to get people out in the community to walk/run together as a team to support the awareness. So get involved today and start promoting in your state! Donate to a local chapter near you! You will truly make a difference.
For more information about Sickle Cell Disease, please visit www.sicklecelldisease.org
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Check out my books www.amazon.com/author/patricerivers
My fourth book “My Testimony and Story Living with Sickle Cell Disease” will be published September 2014