It’s World Sickle Cell Day, and we’re taking a look at the chronic pain and regular hospitalizations that are the reality for many suffering from sickle cell disease.
Nikki Peterson, like approximately 100,000 other Americans, was born with sickle cell anemia. The 43-year-old lives in Upper Marlboro, Md., and ends up in the hospital about four times during what she calls a good year.
Once a month, she undergoes a grueling process called hemapheresis. All of the blood is removed from her body, the platelets and plasma are separated out and returned to her, and then Peterson is given 8 to 12 units of packed red blood cells. This helps to mitigate the pain she lives with every day.
“I don’t know what it means to be without pain. I have nothing to compare it to,” Peterson tells The Root from her bed at Doctors Community Hospital in Greenbelt, Md. “I have what I call my normal pain, and my pain where I need to be in the hospital. They always ask what your pain scale is from 1 to 10. I function on a normal person’s 7 to 8. It’s like my 2.”
World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is June 19th. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution on June 19, 2008 recognizing sickle-cell disease as a public health concern. World Sickle Cell Awareness Day provides an opportunity to increase understanding of Sickle Cell Disease and how it affects individuals and families worldwide.
Sickle Cell Disease is one of the most common inherited blood disorders affecting 70,000 to 80,000 Americans and millions of people world-wide.
Sickle Cell Disease is common among people whose ancestors come from Africa; Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Turkey, and Italy; the Arabian Peninsula; India; and Spanish-speaking regions in South America, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that Sickle Cell Disease contributes to 5% of the deaths of children younger than 5 years of age in some African countries. While an increasing proportion of affected children now survive past 5 years of age, many remain at risk of premature death. With early detection and use of public health interventions such as penicillin, many of these deaths can be prevented. Additionally, the burden of this disease can be reduced with increased global resources and effective partnerships. Your help is needed in the education and spreading awareness of Sickle Cell Disease.
In 2008 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution that determined Sickle Cell Disease a public health problem and one of the world’s foremost genetic disease. The result was that June 19th was declared as World Sickle Cell Day to heightened awareness, activism, diagnosis and management of SCD around the world.
The Heart of Gold Foundation Inc. of Northern Virginia invites you to join our first 2013 World Sickle Cell Day balloon release ceremony in honor of those who have lost their lives to SCD and to raise awareness that SCD is a global health problem!
WHEN: Saturday, June 22nd
TIME: 10:00 a.m. To 12:00 p.m.
WHERE: Fort Ward Park, Area 1
4301 West Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA 22304
THEME: Speak Up
Speak, About Sickle Cell
The ignorance of Sickle Cell has led to the ignoring of Sickle Cell