Clarion student gives presentation, raises sickle cell anemia awareness

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]In honor of Black History Month, the Mu Phi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi hosted a program to raise awareness for sickle cell anemia in Gemmell 252 Feb. 24.
The program featured Clarion senior, Loran Jackson, who lives with the disease.
Jackson’s presentation covered information about sickle cell anemia, as well as advice and suggestions about what people can do to help.
Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary blood disorder that occurs when the recessive trait for the disease is inherited from both parents. Sickle cell primarily affects African Americans, due to a hemoglobin mutation once used to help fight malaria.
To demonstrate sickle cell disease, Jackson gave a handful of Skittles to the audience members and said, “This is what normal blood cells look like.”
She instructed the crowd to eat the Skittles before saying, “This is what blood cells with sickle cell are like.”
Sickle cells do not hold a round, circular shape, they actually are shaped like a sickle, which makes blood flow difficult.
This condition can lead to organ damage and painful blood clots also known as a sickle cell crisis, which can be life-threatening.
Jackson described her experience with sickle cell crisis and displayed many of the medications she must take in order to function through daily life.
Currently, there is no cure for the disease, but it can be treated.
Today, more than 70,000 Americans live with the disease.
“We need to be aware of it,” Jackson said.
The disease is, as Jackson said, “Out of sight, out of mind. You can’t see it, so you don’t know it’s there.”
Often, someone may not know that they have the disease, which was the case with singer-songwriter Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins from TLC, who did not discover she had sickle cell until she was 28 years old.
However, people can be tested for sickle cell anywhere there is a hematologist.
When asked how people can help, Jackson replied, “Donate blood; that’s always appreciated.”
Children with sickle cell disease receive regular blood transfusions, said Jackson, who once had to get 12 different blood transfusions during a hospitalization.
“That’s 12 bags of blood,” Jackson said.
The American Red Cross organization holds blood drives on campus, so students are encouraged to donate for the cause. People can also help by donating books, funds, toys or even just a smile to kids in hospitals.
Sickle cell symptoms usually tend to be worse for children.
Jackson said, “Many children are hospitalized for long periods of time, so any of these donations can help.”
Jackson’s presentation increased awareness and knowledge of sickle cell anemia for those in attendance.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

You May Also Like