During September, which is recognized as National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month, thousands will mobilize to help those living and suffering with the disease.
In Georgia alone, there are more than 7,000 people living with sickle cell, according to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia (SCFG). The foundation’s mission for the month is to bring awareness to the forefront with a plethora of activities throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area.
“We want to raise awareness about the serious health problems associated with sickle cell disease which is characterized by debilitating pain and life-threatening complications,” said Deborah McGhee McCrary, CEO of SCFG. “Awareness month is filled with health fairs, fundraisers, information on testing and the latest research and treatments for sickle cell.”
SCFG will host the fifth annual Walk-A-Mile for Sickle Cell in historic Southwest, game night and free testing.
Founded in 1971 by Atlanta physicians Nelson McGhee Jr. and Delutha H. King, SCFG is a statewide nonprofit advocating for and serving children and adults with sickle cell disease and other abnormal hemoglobin.
The foundation hosts Camp New Hope, Georgia’s first medically supervised summer camp for children ages 6-17 living with sickle cell. SCFG is the only community-based organization providing sickle cell education, testing, counseling and transition services throughout the state.
The foundation asserts it was instrumental in the passage of medical cannabis legislation in Georgia and for having sickle cell added as an eligible condition — the first state in the nation to do so.
The White House released a presidential message acknowledging National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month, stating, “we stand with those fighting sickle cell disease and reaffirm our nation’s commitment to finding a cure for this group of hereditary red blood cell disorders.”
Sickle cell disease is a debilitating condition that affects more than 100,000 Americans of all ages by slowing or blocking blood flow, causing pain and progressive organ damage and reducing life expectancy.
While the disease disproportionately affects African Americans, other racial and ethnic groups can also be affected.
“My administration is committed to supporting research to develop a cure to SCD that is available to all people, expanding on the achievements of current treatment options,” President Trump said in a White House-issued statement.