Sickle cell walk raised awareness

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Sickle cell anemia advocates recently participated in the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois’ 37th annual Walk-Jog- Bike-A-Thon for the disease, sponsored by the Black McDonald’s Operators Association.

Sickle cell anemia advocates recently participated in the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois’ 37th annual Walk-Jog- Bike-A-Thon for the disease, sponsored by the Black McDonald’s Operators Association.

Most prevalent in Blacks, sickle cell is a hereditary blood disease in which protein that carries oxygen in the blood turns sickle-shaped and clogs blood vessels, causing extreme pain. Patients suffer from chronic pain episodes that can last for days.

“I’m just trying to bring more awareness to the cause, that’s the main reason why I’m out here,” said Azzezat Sulaimon, a sickle cell patient.

She said there are many who don’t know about the disease.

The disease affects an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 Americans. About 1 in 12 Blacks carry the sickle cell trait, which by itself is generally harmless. The disease occurs in about 1 in every 500 Black births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois, more than 2,000 Black residents in Chicago live with the disease.

Delvon Rowell, who also has the disease was thankful for the awareness efforts and to those who came to support him.

“It means a lot to me… watching him go through it and all the pain he goes through… so, hopefully one day they’ll be able to come up with a cure so no one has to go through this,” said Jujuan Fells, Rowell’s friend.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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