An education fair and 5K to raise funds and awareness to aid Oklahomans with sickle cell disease (SCD) will be held at the Oklahoma State Capitol this coming Saturday, September 17 at 9 a.m. The event is sponsored by the organization Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease as part of National Sickle Cell Awareness month.
Sen. Kevin Matthews, chair of the Oklahoma Black Caucus, said the 5K will help call attention to SCD which affects up to 100,000 Americans, including 1,500 here in Oklahoma. Another 40,000 in the state may unknowingly carry the genetic trait.
“Sickle cell is a serious debilitating and life threatening disease that unfortunately does not receive nearly enough attention or resources. Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease is the only organization I know of that actively educates, advocates and provides SCD testing as their primary mission—and they do it with hardly any public funding,” said Matthews, D-Tulsa. “I urge the public to participate in this fundraising effort supporting families who are working hard to help themselves and others.”
SCD is a hereditary condition which causes the body to produce abnormal hemoglobin. Red blood cells become rigid and sickle-shaped, sticking together and blocking the flow of blood and oxygen to the body. The chronic condition can cause intense pain and serious health issues such as stroke, infection and pulmonary complications. Currently, the only available cure is stem cell transplantation—but the process is associated with potentially fatal side effects. The few additional treatment options are aimed at decreasing pain and preventing health complications.
In addition to the 5K walk, run or jog for the cure, the health and education fair will include free health screenings, information from various community based health and education organizations, music and children’s activities as part of the family friendly event.
To register for the 5K, go to http://bit.ly/sicklecell5k2016 or call 918-408-1468.