By Dayna Kerecman Myers
September, “back to school” month for most children, is a time for children and parents to think excitedly about their futures. For children suffering from chronic illnesses like sickle cell disease, though, the future may seem less certain. To encourage Americans to reflect on the lives, educations, and careers of people affected by sickle cell disease, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) designated September National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness month.
According to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH), one of our hospital partners, sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder characterized by defective hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissues of the body). While there is no cure for this painful disease, blood transfusions can help. LPCH notes that blood transfusions are used to treat anemia and to prevent stroke in sickle cell patients; transfusions are also used to dilute the defective sickle-cell hemoglobin with normal hemoglobin to treat chronic pain, acute chest syndrome, crises resulting from sickle cells pooling in the spleen, and other emergencies.
At Stanford Blood Center, we thank our blood donors, who help ensure that local patients with sickle cell disease are able to get the blood transfusions that they need to manage their illness.
Learn more: Read an inspiring story about Rahman Humphries, a local Eagle Scout who is battling sickle cell disease.