Awareness: Sickle Cell Disease - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Awareness: Sickle Cell Disease

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Sickle Cell Disease affects thousands of people every year. It's an inherited disorder with no cure. Patients usually have to suffer with a life of chronic pain. It is a painful, debilitating and chronic condition without a cure. The disease affects the red blood cells. A tell-tale sign of the disorder is the shape of the red blood cells. Some of them are crescent or sickle-shaped causing a blockage of oxygen and blood flow. Patients often experience crises associated with the disease which means blood vessels can become blocked or defective red blood cells can damage organs in the body. This causes intense pain for patients and it can happen frequently and without warning. This prevents many people with the disease from having a stable job or a comfortable quality of life.

This week, August 30 on Awareness, Sumter native Dennis Littles was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 5. He is working to develop a treatment and support center in Sumter for patients in the Midlands so they don’t have to drive to Charleston for care.

One form of pain management is blood transfusions. Genice Bailey with the American Red Cross discusses the importance of donating blood, how limited the supply can be and the criteria for donating.

Yvonne Donald is the deputy director of the James R. Clark Sickle Cell Foundation. She shares an in-depth look at the disease, how it’s inherited and events in the community to raise money for those suffering with the disease.

The 10th anniversary Sickle Cell Walk is September 12, 2015. It starts with registration at 9:00 a.m., opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 1300 Pine Street, Columbia, SC 29204. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is the Walk Ambassador this year. Registration is $15 and includes at t-shirt. All proceeds benefit the Sickle Cell Scholarship Fund.

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