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Gov. Gregoire Declares Jan. 25 Sickle Cell Awareness Day

For Immediate Release: January 25, 2008

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today declared Jan. 25, 2008, to be Sickle Cell Awareness Day in support of those seeking to help the 72,000 Americans who suffer from it.

“As a society, we need to do whatever we can to help those afflicted,” Gregoire said. “Fortunately, aggressive screening and innovative therapies are allowing children born with this disease to lead full, productive lives.”

During a ceremony, Gregoire thanked Sen. Rosa Franklin and Rep. Eric Pettigrew for their efforts to educate the public about the hereditary disease that affects one in 500 people of African-American descent, the highest rate of incidence of any group.

Also attending was Ken West, president of the Metro-Seattle Sickle Cell Task Force, and Dr. M. Bender, director of the Odessa Brown Comprehensive sickle cell clinic.

“I look forward to the day we have a cure for this terrible disease,” Gregoire said. “But first must come public awareness, and I applaud the efforts today by the organizations and others here to create that awareness.”

Sickle cell anemia is a serious, life-long condition in which the red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body becomes C-shaped and clump together, blocking blood flow in the blood vessels that lead to the limbs and organs. Blocked blood vessels can cause pain, serious infections, and organ damage.

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