Author Judy Johnson Joins Call for Observing World Sickle Cell Day

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Fourth Annual World Sickle Cell Day is June 19, 2012

The cover of Living With Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive

The cover of Living With Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive

What is sickle cell disease? Sickle cell disease is one of two types of hereditary disorders – the other is thalassemia – involving hemoglobin, the protein within red blood cells that carry oxygen to body tissue.

Judy Johnson, author of Living With Sickle Cell: The Struggle to Survive, is joining the call to observe June 19, 2012 as the fourth World Sickle Cell Day.

World Sickle Cell Day is the centerpiece of a 2008 United Nations resolution that declared sickle cell disease as a global public health problem that requires heightened awareness, activism, diagnosis and management.
In concert with the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) promotes a worldwide agenda to address the disease. Sickle cell disease affects an estimated 90,000 to 100,000 Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

What is sickle cell disease? Sickle cell disease is one of two types of hereditary disorders – the other is thalassemia – involving hemoglobin, the protein within red blood cells that carry oxygen to body tissue.

Red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a sickle. The sickled cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. In addition, the cells get stuck and clog blood flow as they travel through small blood vessels, which can cause sufferers severe pain and other serious problems such infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke. By contrast, healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

Regarding sickle cell disease worldwide, WHO has made a commitment to:

  •     Recognize that sickle cell disease is a major health issue.
  •     Increase awareness of the world community regarding sickle cell disease.
  •     Eliminate harmful and wrong prejudices associated with sickle cell disease.
  •     Urge member countries where sickle cell disease is a public health problem to establish health programs at the national level and operate specialized centers for sickle cell disease and facilitate access to treatment.
  •     Promote satisfactory access to medical services to people affected with sickle cell disease.
  •     Provide technical support to all countries to prevent and manage sickle cell disease.
  •     Promote and help research to improve the lives of people affected with sickle cell disease.

The World Sickle Cell day is observed worldwide through media campaigns, music shows, cultural activities, and talk shows. The observance also emphasizes educating medical professionals, care givers, and associated personnel about prevention, research, and resources to minimize the complications due to sickle cell disease.

Like World Sickle Cell Day, Judy’s Living With Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive also aims to educate medical professionals about the illness. Describing her memoir as a book she “had to write,” Judy took on her daunting project amid her mounting anger over facing repeated instances of insensitive treatment from emergency room doctors and nurses as she sought relief from severe pain episodes brought on by sickle cell disease.

The result is a vivid description of how Judy lived her life while enduring the incurable pain and fatigue. Living With Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive is available in hard cover, paperback and e-book versions through http://www.lulu.com. Her book is also available through Apple’s iBookstore. Readers also may visit Judy’s website at http://www.judygrayjohnson.com.

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Judy Johnson

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JGJ Productions
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