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Walks, Blood Drives Among Activities Marking Sickle Cell Awareness Month

From walks to blood drives, a host of activities and efforts are marking this year’s National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, observed annually each September.

For its part, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which has a Comprehensive Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Program, is reminding people of the importance of being tested for the sickle cell trait, which affects 1 in 13 African-American babies. Although the trait doesn’t usually cause illness, if both parents have it, there’s a 25 percent chance the couple’s child will be born with sickle cell disease (SCD).

Elsewhere, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America is asking supporters, particularly those of African descent, to donate blood this month. The inherited disease affects red blood cells via an abnormal version of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. The altered hemoglobin is known as hemoglobin S, or sickle hemoglobin, because it causes normally oval-shaped red blood cells to assume a sickle shape, often resulting in blood flow blockages.



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