Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sickle Cell Awareness Month 2015 (Part 1)

Sickle Cell Awareness month is September every year…and every year I share with you facts about SCD, information that will help people living with SCD, and how you can make a difference….but the most important thing I thought I could share with you, by not being transparent and sharing with you the good, bad, and real ugly with you, my FB family….Sometimes I think I’m simply wasting my time on this crusade to educate the public while trying to make life a little easier and worth living for people like me, who live with SCD….We need you (the person reading this) to do something this year!  Not another walk, run, gala, dare, or anything that is just fluff….In days to come I will share how you can help and give  lots of information about a disease that does not get much attention!  Watch out for “Painting for a Purpose Parties” and local high schools will compete against each other in the Birmingham, AL area, where you can find art work created by those living with SCD in an art gallery near you and how you can save lives and give people like me a better quality of life….You can be the change maker with it costing you very little to nothing but your time.  It’s time for a change and stop waiting for someone else to break the cycle and cause a change.

: In its simplest terms, the red blood cell is like a car driving throughout the body & every part of your body needs the oxygen that is supplied by the red blood cell.  So think of a regular red blood cell as a brand new shiny car that’s never been driven and is ready to take the road for an across the country trip (its shaped like a Krispy Kreme doughnut that’s nice an soft), all gassed up and ready to roll.  On the other hand you have a sickled red blood cell as an old lemon of a car (a Krispy Kreme doughnut that’s been sitting in the box for about a week, it’s hard, and someone has taken a bite out of it and put it back into the box) the air doesn’t work, it makes noises, cuts off whenever if feels like it causing traffic jams, parts are constantly coming off and just not very safe to drive)……A regular red blood cell has a life of 120 days & a sickled red blood cell will live in the body for 10-20 days at best…the job of the red blood cell while its taking this cross body (or country) drive is to drop off oxygen and pick up carbon dioxide and other bad gases that need to be removed from the body….The red blood cell travels through arteries & veins to get the job done and provide the organs, brain, tissue, bones, and even places in the body we don’t even think about with the oxygen needed to continue to do its job as a body…..However, the regular red blood cell has no problems getting through tight spaces because it was designed to be soft, squishy, and easy to maneuver throughout the body with no problems…..but the sickled cell isn’t even fit for the roads inside our bodies b/c they are hard, break easily, and cause traffic jams anywhere oxygen is needed within the body which is everywhere…..If the body does not have or get oxygen supplied throughout the body it dies (and everything needs red blood cells in the body to function properly).  So here we have a brand new cell (the shiny car) and a broken, damaged, and causing traffic jams throughout the body and can just barely make it to the state line on a cross country (body) trip.  The percentage of sickled cells found inside someone who lives with Sickle Cell Disease is extremely high (60-95%).  What are the chances that someone living with SCD living a long and awesome quality of life?

~Tina Kay    

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