Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder caused by inheriting a faulty gene. This disease results in a sticky and crescent-shaped red blood cell that does not oxygenate properly. The shape causes cells to clump together in thin capillaries, often restricting blood flow, causing pain. Sickle-shaped cells barely last 15-20 days, unlike the 3-month life span of a normal red blood cell.
Sufferers are born with it and deal with a myriad of related illnesses like anemia and chronic pain, with elevated risks of chest syndrome, spleen crisis pooling, strokes, and jaundice. Blood transfusions and a rigorous adherence to medication & diet are a way to make the suffering bearable.
We will find many such brave individuals in our schools and colleges. If you are a school administrator, then heed our call on this one! Please stand with us on Sickle Cell Awareness Month through these ideas.
1. Run Awareness Workshops:
Since it is a genetic disorder, the importance of genetic screening for dominant defective genes has to be subtly discussed among the Parent-Teacher Conferences without offending. Arrange workshops this month and select esteemed medical experts to spearhead awareness talks with parents and their wards. School nurses and PE teachers should be involved too.
2. Celebrate Survivors:
Invite people and children to your schools who are positively battling this disease, and honor them with a spot at the rostrum. Let them share their experiences with children & adults who can make better-informed decisions on their health screening in the future.
3. Promote Advocacy:
4. Teach Empathy:
Sickle Cell sufferers can’t take decongestants as they can trigger a reaction in their spleen, leading to possible death. They can’t risk an infection. They have to be hydrated and on pain medication most of the time. Sufferers can also face psychological stress and depression. Emphasize being supportive in the community to help sufferers overcome their fears and vulnerability. Preach empathy and respect for these survivors.
5. Arrange Fundraisers:
Bake sales and school fairs are excellent nexus points for leisure and spreading awareness. Raise funds for charity and put in a community effort to fund research & donations in bone marrow transplants, as it is one way to cure the disease. Make it festive, but ensure the positivity gets across!
For occasions like awareness drives, the right set of stationery, banners, pamphlets, and merchandise has to be prepared. Sickle cell awareness memorabilia is a thoughtful way to capture attention and evoke initiatives in a strong community.
At Spirit Magnet.COM, we take Sickle Cell Awareness Month as seriously as any life-threatening disease. We believe that our educational institutions can do with a bit of colorful spirit to make those affected by sickle cell disease in our Bluffdale community feel like heroes. They are heroes!