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DC Reinventing Hub

Reinventing wellbeing: Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Day 

SCD is a genetic disorder that impacts the shape and function of red blood cells. Instead of being flexible and round, these cells become rigid and crescent-shaped, which can lead to various severe complications.

Contributor

Sade started off her career at Delta Capita as an Apprentice Consultant.

Sade Mckenzie-West
Shared Services Administrator

As someone deeply invested in the well-being of our team at Delta Capita, I see today, June 19, 2024, as a vital opportunity to spotlight Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Awareness Day. This isn't just about marking a date on the calendar; it's about fostering understanding and reducing the stigmas associated with SCD by educating ourselves.

SCD is a genetic disorder that impacts the shape and function of red blood cells. Instead of being flexible and round, these cells become rigid and crescent-shaped, which can lead to various severe complications.  

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SCD is only contracted when both parents are carriers of the disease and it is most common in people who come from Black African or Black Caribbean descent. Other types of blood diseases, such as Thalassaemia, can be seen in people from all over the globe such as people from Mediterranean, African and Asian countries.

In 2021, 7.74 million people globally were afflicted with SCD. This is up 41% from 5.46 million in 2000 [thelanvet.com].  Each year at least 240,000 babies are born with SCD in Africa.  

Understanding sickle cell disease is important.

It is more than merely a medical condition but it is a condition that impacts the lives of many, shaping their daily experiences in profound ways.  

They will experience symptoms such as pain crises, anaemia, infections, Acute Chest Syndrome, strokes, organ damage and that’s just to name a few.

With these symptoms, you can imagine the impact it will have on daily life. It is a complex mixture of symptoms and daily treatments and the nature of the disease itself can be all-consuming to those affected. Their lives consist of a lot of pain management, infection prevention, fatigue and weakness, regular medical care and emotional and psychological support.

Recently the FDA in the US has approved two gene therapies, offering the exciting possibility of a complete cure. However, at the moment treatments often include blood transfusions and medication to prevent illness.

This is why donating blood is so important. I believe we can all sacrifice 1 hour of our lives and potentially SAVE 3 lives and if you are eligible to donate blood then you should! You can check your eligibility here: https://www.blood.co.uk/.  

Learn more about SCD here:  

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sickle-cell-disease/

https://www.sicklecellsociety.org/wscd/