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Dear September… this is a month dedicated to raising awareness of sickle cell disease, celebrating the achievements of survivors living with sickle cell and it entails things to do in sickle cell awareness month in Nigeria.
What is Sickle Cell Disease?
Sickle cell disease is a genetic illness that affects the red blood cells due to an abnormality in an oxygen-carrying protein called haemoglobin. It is genetic because it is inherited, passed on from parents to their offspring (children).
This causes pain, discomfort, and complications to the carriers which is termed “sickle cell crisis”. It is followed up with strong painkillers to alleviate and control the pain.
When is Sickle Cell Awareness Month in Nigeria?
Following sickle cell day which is on the 19th of June, September is a month dedicated to the nation.
September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month which is aimed at focusing attention on the dying need for more research and treatment for the disease.
What Is the Importance of Sickle Cell Awareness Month?
This was founded to increase knowledge and understanding of the disease. In addition, to comprehend the challenges, and impacts faced by the carriers, and of course their families. It also helps in telling us things to do in sickle cell awareness month in Nigeria.
The importance of this month is to educate and inform individuals about the struggles and complications patients go through. Alongside, their accomplishments and how they go about their daily lives.
What are the Things to Do in Sickle Cell Awareness Month in Nigeria?
Humanity should live. And as such, if you want to be involved, these are things to do in sickle cell awareness month in Nigeria:
1. Donate Blood to Support Warriors
“It’s rewarding and refreshing to know you have helped save a life”
“Give Blood. Spread Love.”
This here tells you how much your act of kindness will be making a huge impact and difference in someone’s life.
Donating blood takes at most an hour and with this hour, you’re helping someone control pain, discomfort, and complications.
Besides, donating blood has so many benefits.
2. Educate Others on the Disease and Its Impact on Lives of the Patients and Families
People live in the unknown when it comes to sickle cell disease. It must be that they heard about it but never truly know what it entails. I was one.
As a result, organize conferences and seminars to help educate and inform others about the disease and its impacts on their lives.
These programs can also be held among sickle cell patients as a way of uplifting them and recognizing each other.
3. Get Tested and Know Your Status Are Things to Do in Sickle Cell Awareness Month in Nigeria
As the month implies, a month of “awareness”, now would be the right time for you and your partner to get informed about your statuses.
Remember, knowing your status early leaves no room for “I wish I had known” or “I wish we didn’t”. We’ve seen that sickle cell disease is genetic and is passed on from parents to their children. As a result, please do not marry a carrier of sickle cell disease.
Know what condition you’re in with your future partner, be informed.
4. Support a Foundation with Finance by Donating If You Can
There are a lot of sickle cell foundations founded by sickle cell patients and others. All these foundations are aimed at improving the lives of carriers and as such, equipped laboratories and research centres are highly needed.
Bone marrow transplant/stem transplant is the only known cure for sickle cell disease. Nigeria as we all know is under-developed and as such, donations are highly needed to meet up with the goal.
Remember, your kind donations go a long way in life and in the hereafter.
Foundations like Safiyya Sickle Cell Foundation are some of the organizations you can support.
5. Advocate for Better Treatments, More Research, Clinical System and Well Equipped Laboratories
There are advocacy foundations in Nigeria solely focused on educating and helping people with sickle cell disease. Moreover, it focuses on letting them know that they are not alone and promises a productive life for them.
6. Organizing a Walkathon
Patients are advised to limit strenuous activities but we all know how exercising is very vital in our day-to-day lives. A walk-a-thon is an event where patients and participants exercise either by walking or running to show support to sickle cell patients.
As a result, there should be enough supply of water at the event and if possible, a medical team. The bottom line is there shouldn’t be strenuous activities for the patients.
7. Shaving or Dying the Hair Are Things to Do in Sickle Cell Awareness Month in Nigeria
This is a bold choice but it goes a long way in showing your support to sickle cell patients. You could either shave or dye the hair.
People like to go viral with this support and as such, it spreads awareness and prompts people to also show support.
8. Run an Event to Raise Funds in Your Community
This can be done by passionate individuals who want to show support. A network of families and friends can put up an event to help raise funds in their community. After the event, the funds are given back as donations to the foundations.
Can you be that network of friends and families?
9. Simply Wearing Red to Show Support Are Things to Do in Sickle Cell Awareness Month in Nigeria
This is one of the simplest things to do in sickle cell awareness month in Nigeria as this doesn’t involve donating.
This simple act of kindness could be wearing red socks or a red shirt to show support to the carriers.
10. Encourage and Talk to Others to Show Support and Raise Awareness Too
Tell a friend to tell a friend! That’s how it works here. Tell your friends what you know about this disease and encourage them to talk to others about it.
You can never know where this news will reach and whose life you’ll be saving just by talking.
11. Use Social Media as a Means of Support and Raise Awareness
Social media has indeed taken over the world and for that sole reason, this is a means of showing support to carriers. Sending and commenting on posts to convey a heartfelt message of how you see and recognize their struggle.
12. Send a Basket of Love to Friends with This Disease or visiting Them Are Things to Do in Sickle Cell Awareness Month in Nigeria
Sending a basket of love is definitely a thing to do in sickle cell awareness month in Nigeria. This kind of activity will be immensely appreciated as sickle cell patients have a different pattern of self-care.
Read: Ultimate Tips to Living with Sickle Cell Anemia
As a concerned friend, you should encourage them to eat healthily, watch out for warning signs like fever. If you can’t be around them often, send a basket of love with essential treatments and diets.
To all the sickle cell patients out there, I see you and I know the pain and discomfort you feel. I see you as warriors and survivors at the same time.
As a result, I take my hat off for every struggling time you’ve encountered and for every time you rise back up.
If you’re reading this, I pray and hope you now know the things to do in sickle cell awareness month in Nigeria. In addition, if you’re doing humanity differently, let me know in the comment section.
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest soulsKahli Gibran
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