The 40th Annual Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia Race takes place September 10th in Downtown East Point
September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. According to the CDC, Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone with SCD, the hemoglobin is abnormal, which causes the red blood cells to become hard and sticky and look like a sickle, a C-shaped farm tool. Sickle Cell Disease is more prevalent in the African-American community. About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies are born with the sickle cell trait (SCT). So many Black people have sickle cell due to our West African ancestry. The SCT trait makes people more resistant to contracting malaria. Malaria is a massive problem in sub-Saharan Africa. The Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia was founded over 50 years ago in 1971 to inform and advocate for those diagnosed with the disease.
On September 10th, the 42nd Sickle Cell Road Race/Walk takes place in downtown East Point. I had a conversation with Kadeem Harrison, the Asst. Camp Director and Outreach Coordinator with the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia.
While there has been increased awareness about Sickle Cell Disease because many know someone living with this challenge, I asked Harrison about the challenges faced today and the new tools available to support those who struggle. Harrison shares that over the last twenty years, several recent treatment developments have occurred. He also shares that more medical professionals have become educated about the disorder.
The Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia will support numerous events throughout September. Their annual Sickle Cell Walk has been taking place for the last 40 years. This year the event will take place in Downtown East Point on September 10th.
I asked Harrison about the foundation’s camp. He says the camp is a place for children with Sickle Cell Anemia to have fun.