Kicking off the globally recognised month for awareness, the Bahamas Sickle Cell Association will host its fourth annual fun run/walk this Saturday.
September as been designated Sickle Cell Awareness Month, as people from all around the world engage in various activities to recognise and educate others on the disorder.
The fun run/walk route will start at Goodman’s Bay and continue to Sandyport and back for seasoned runners. For those who are walking and running for fun, the route is from Goodman’s Bay to the Meliá Nassau Beach Hotel roundabout and back. It begins at 6am.
Funds raised from the event will help the association host educational forums, produce printed material for the public, distribute care baskets to Sickle Cell Disease Warriors, and more importantly, assist persons with operations locally and internationally, especially since bone marrow transplant is currently the only known cure for sickle cell disease.
“We would like for all of our events to be successful so that we can continue our work of providing education, support and financial assistance to persons affected by sickle cell disease. This year we donated over $10,000 to persons in the sickle cell community,” said the Bahamas Sickle Cell Association (BSCA).
Sickle cell disease is a group of blood disorders typically inherited from a person’s parents. The most common type is known as sickle cell anaemia (SCA). It results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin (haemoglobin S) found in red blood cells. This leads to a rigid, sickle-like shape under certain circumstances. Problems in sickle cell disease typically begin around five to six months of age. A number of health problems may develop, such as attacks of pain, anaemia, swelling in the hands and feet, bacterial infections, and strokes. Long-term pain may develop as people get older.
The average life expectancy in the developed world is 40 to 60 years.
From its inception, the BSCA has sought to be a major source of information for those currently faced with the disease, as well as the general public.
“There is a lot of information that Bahamians need to be aware of in relation to sickle cell disease. Such as it being an inherited genetic disease and the importance of getting tested early enough to take proactive measures. Understanding the importance of oxygen, the need to stay hydrated, getting out of wet clothes and limiting physical exertion are just some of the core things every person with sickle cell disease needs to be aware of. Not every pain is growing pains, feeling tired and not wanting to play or asking to stay home should not be ignored, especially for children.
It is important for parents to get the facts and speak to their doctors. There are options out there for health insurance that are not costly to employers or persons with this pre-existing disease. BSCA is there to support persons with the disease and we want persons to reach out to us.”
The BSCA will be hosting other fundraising initiatives during Sickle Cell Awareness Month, including its third annual raffle and mini fair on September 30 at RM Bailey Park. Food tickets and raffle books are now on sale.
BSCA has established its regular monthly meeting held on the last Thursday of each month at Dr Patrick Roberts’ office on Dean’s Lane, Fort Charlotte at 6pm, and the general public is invited.
For more information, call436-7130 or 427-4849, or visit www.bahamassicklecell.org or the BSCA’s Facebook and Instagram pages for registration details.