September is the month reserved for Sickle Cell Anemia awareness. Sickle Cell is near and dear to me because not only do I have a friend living with it but I lost my best friend to the illness. For years, I struggled to understand the illness because my best friend always looked so well. All I knew was that sometimes she missed days from school. I never knew how her true hardship until we were older and I witnessed her turmoil during the birth of her son. From that day on I, my understanding of the disease and respect for those living with it was great.
Sickle cell anemia is a disease affecting many African-Americans, it is one of the most common genetic disorders especially in the United States. It causes problems with the red blood cells. Normal red blood cells are round and smooth and move through blood vessels easily. Sickle cells are C-shaped and become hard and sticky. They can get stuck in small blood vessels, blocking blood flow. This can cause pain and organ damage. Sickle cells die quickly, but your body cannot make new red blood cells to replace them fast enough. This leads to anemia. People who have sickle cell anemia need constant treatment to prevent severe pain and serious health problems. There are loads of different treatments that are offered to some people to treat this, however some do have some bad side effects. You can read more about HPP (a common side effect) here.
Each year, about 1 in 500 African-Americans is born with sickle cell disease, which runs in families. This means that the gene that causes sickle cell anemia is passed down from parents to children. People who have sickle cell disease got the sickle cell gene from both parents. People who have only one sickle cell gene are said to have the sickle cell “trait.” They do not have the disease, but they can pass the gene to their children. About 1 in 12 African-Americans has the sickle cell trait.
Some Celebrities with Sickle Cell include:
1. Tionne “T- Boz” Watkins.
A singer in the group of TLC that has the sickle cell anemia and also the spokesperson for the Sickle Cell Disease Association in the United States.
A rapper also shares the experiences of having this disease and expressed a word of encouragement for all the individuals who are also suffering from sickle cell anemia.
3. Tiki Barber.
An American football player. The football player also gives advice on how to treat this disease.
4. Larenz Tate.
An actor that has the sickle cell anemia together with his two brothers. They raised a foundation that deals with awareness of the disease. The two brothers also shared their experiences on how to fight and treat the said disease. They also encourage other people not to be afraid with the sickle cell anemia since this can be treated.
5. Miles Davis.
A Jazz trumpet player also encountered this kind of disease. The trumpet player wants to express a variety of experiences and treatments on how to fight the disease.