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Sickle Cell Awareness: Promoting, Understanding, and Empowering Communities


By: Sunny Kern

Sunny Kern is a rising junior at Baruch College pursuing degrees in psychology and philosophy with a minor in film. Having completed coursework in creative writing, journalism, and digital media, she has developed a strong understanding of storytelling and how to tailor messaging to specific audiences. As

well as working as co-editor of Today's Patient, she also works on the communications team. In addition to her academic experience, she has been a social media intern in the Admissions Office of Baruch College, where she has been responsible for creating content on various platforms.


Sickle Cell Awareness plays a vital role in raising understanding and support for individuals living with sickle cell disease (SCD.) SCD Awareness is a global initiative dedicated to shedding light on the challenges faced by individuals living with the disease. Sickle Cell Awareness aims to improve the millions of lives affected by this hereditary blood disorder and advocate for advancements in treatment and care. 


Understanding Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that affects the shape and function of red blood cells. Instead of the normal disc-like shape, the affected red blood cells become crescent or sickle-shaped, leading to various health complications. SCD is inherited when both parents carry the sickle cell gene. This condition primarily affects individuals of African, Hispanic, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern descent.


The Impact on Individuals and Communities

SCD can have a profound impact on the lives of individuals and their families. The symptoms and complications associated with the disease can vary in severity, ranging from mild discomfort to life-threatening crises. Common symptoms include chronic pain, fatigue, anemia, susceptibility to infections, and organ damage. Individuals with SCD may also face challenges in education, employment, and social interactions due to the unpredictable nature of the condition.


Promoting Awareness and Understanding

Sickle Cell Awareness plays a crucial role in dispelling misconceptions, reducing stigma, and promoting understanding of SCD. By raising awareness, we can encourage early diagnosis, appropriate medical care, and access to support systems for those living with the disease. Education about the genetic inheritance patterns of SCD is also essential to help individuals make informed decisions about family planning and prenatal screening.


World Sickle Cell Awareness Day: June 19

Every year on June 19, the world unites to observe World Sickle Cell Awareness Day. This designated day aims to increase public knowledge about SCD and mobilize support for individuals and families affected by the disease. It serves as a platform to amplify the voices of those living with SCD, advocate for improved healthcare services, and encourage research and development of new treatments.


Empowering Individuals and Communities

Sickle Cell Awareness efforts are not limited to a single day but extend throughout the year. Community organizations, healthcare providers, and advocacy groups collaborate to offer support networks, educational resources, and access to appropriate medical care. By empowering individuals with SCD and their families, we can enhance their quality of life, foster resilience, and promote a sense of belonging within the community.


Sickle Cell Awareness plays a crucial role in promoting understanding, support, and improved outcomes for individuals living with sickle cell disease. Through education, advocacy, and community engagement, we can make a positive impact on the lives of those affected by SCD. World Sickle Cell Awareness Day serves as a milestone, reminding us to unite, raise our voices, and work towards a future where individuals with SCD can live healthier and happier lives.

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