Sickle cell is an inherited condition that is the most common and serious disease among African Americans. The disease has been described in individuals from several different ethnic backgrounds and is also seen with increased frequency in Latino Americans- particularly those of Caribbean, Central American, and South American ancestry.
Blood Assurance, Brewer Media and the Chattanooga Scenic City Sickle Cell Corporation will host a Sickle Cell Awareness Carnival on Saturday, June 16, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Coolidge Park. Participants can register to be the match by joining the bone marrow registry and donate blood. There will be kid and family-friendly activities and the opportunity to learn more about sickle cell disease. This event is open to the public.
There is a population of sickle cell clients in the Chattanooga community who are under-served, particularly those who have recently transitioned from pediatric care to adulthood. The Chattanooga Scenic City Sickle Cell Corporation is a community-based organization being formed to increase the awareness of sickle cell disease and to develop a system of transitional care services. Sickle cell clients who experience stroke are committed to blood transfusions on a monthly basis for life. Donating blood is essential for the continuing of care for these clients.
A bone marrow transplant can provide a life-saving opportunity for a child living with sickle cell or anyone suffering from other illnesses like leukemia and lymphoma. Many African Americans and other minorities can’t find marrow donors. Right now, the chance of finding a match on the Be The Match Registry is close to 93 percent for Caucasians, but for African Americans and other minorities, the chances can be as low as 66 percent. The tissue types used for matching patients with donors are inherited, so patients are most likely to find a match within their own racial or ethnic heritage. There are 9 million people on the Be The Match Registry, but only seven percent are African American.
While the number of transplants that the National Marrow Donor Program facilitates for African American patients has doubled since 2004, more people of African American descent are urgently needed on the Be The Match Registry so that more lives can be saved. July is African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month. Join early. Volunteers are needed from every ethnic and racial background to meet the ultimate challenge of helping every patient find a life-saving donor. With a simple swab from inside the cheek, join the Be The Match Registry.
Parties not attending the carnival who are interested in registering for Be The Match Registry may contact the local office to register at 752-5951.