What is Sickle Cell Disease? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

February 27, 2004

Albany - During Black History Month, most learn about the past, but not about diseases that are currently surrounding the African-American community. 

Sickle Cell Disease is a painful blood disorder. At age 21, Shavonne Hillmon knows what pain is. She describes, "I consider it like somebody is hitting you with a baseball bat."

Shavonne has never been able to play sports. She was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease when she was six-months old. She explains, "Sometimes walking up the stairs can be difficult."

On Thursday, her blood count was low, so she needed another blood transfusion. Shavonne adds, "My energy level is too low."

The blood disorder is found primarily in the black community. One in 12 African-Americans are born with the Sickle Cell trait. Fourteen-year-old Sade Williams-Busby has that trait. She says, "The doctor said don't worry about it, you don't have Sickle Cell Anemia."

The CA Gray Middle School student researched Sickle Cell Disease for Black History Month. Sada adds, "I just wanted learn about what was Sickle Cell Anemia."

The sickle cell trait does not develop into the disease, but the trait and the disease can be passed onto future generations. Shavonne says, "Find out your risk ahead of time."

Shavonne's parents passed it on to her. She explains,"My Dad, he has the Sickle Cell Disease, my Mother, she has the Sickle Cell trait and my sister carries the trait also."

Depending on who Sade marries, her kids could be at risk too.

Blood Transfusions ease the excruciating pain in Sickle Cell Anemia patients.

The American Red Cross urges people who carry the Sickle Cell trait to donate blood. Their blood can help patients build up resistance to future crisis attacks.

posted at 5:50PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com