Sickle Cell Disease affects 1 in 13 African American babies, approximately 100,000 Americans and occurs in about 1 out of every 365 African American births.
National Sickle Cell Awareness Month was designated by Congress to help focus attention on the need for research and treatment of sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited disease of hemoglobin, a molecule that carries oxygen within red blood cells. Patients with SCD have red blood cells containing abnormal hemoglobin, which causes the cells to become stiff and form a sickle or crescent shape. Because it is difficult for sickle-shaped cells to pass through small blood vessels, the flow of blood is sometimes blocked, and oxygen does not reach nearby tissues. The disease can cause a host of medical problems including: Anemia, Jaundice, Gallstones, Lung tissue damage, Pain episodes, Stroke and Organ damage.
A bone marrow transplant is the only known cure for sickle cell disease. A well-matched donor is needed to have the best chance for a successful transplant. African Americans are under-represented on the bone marrow registry, accounting for only 7% of all registrants. Because a patient’s best chance of finding a matching bone marrow donor is with someone of similar ancestry, African Americans with sickle cell disease have a harder time finding a bone marrow match.
This is where the Park family can be the difference.
This month, we are walking out one of our principles as we partner with DKMS to host a Donor Blood Stem Drive. Our aim is to educate, bring awareness and inspire potential donors to “Swab for Life.” Swab for a Life is a Virtual Donor Drive.
Our goal is for the Park Church to register 60 donors. Get educational information and REGISTER at www.dkms.org/theparkchurch.