June 19, 2021: Sickle Cell Day

WHEREAS, sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States affecting approximately 100,000 Americans and millions of people around the world; and,


WHEREAS, sickle cell disease is a genetic condition that is present at birth, inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes - one from each parent; Michigan's Newborn Screening Program identifies about 60 newborns with sickle cell disease and 2,700 infants with sickle cell trait each year; and,  


WHEREAS, it is estimated that approximately 2,800 Michigan residents have sickle cell disease, and Black populations account for 98% of cases; and, 


WHEREAS, sickle cell causes changes in red blood cells; healthy red blood cells are disc-shaped and flexible to move easily through the blood vessels, but for individuals with sickle cell disease, red blood cells are crescent or "sickle"-shaped; these cells do not bend or move easily and can block blood flow to the rest of the body; these blockages lead to debilitating pain, damage to organs, and life-threatening complications causing increased morbidity and early mortality; and,


WHEREAS, the average life expectancy for people with the most severe form of sickle cell disease is 30 years shorter than people without the condition; and,


WHEREAS, there are a limited number of physicians experienced in treating adults with sickle cell disease leaving many to seek care in the emergency room; and,


WHEREAS, early screening for sickle cell disease coupled with antibiotic prophylaxis by three months of age, immunizations, disease modifying therapies, and routine medical care are recommended; and,


WHEREAS, gene therapy research is ongoing to develop a universal cure for sickle cell disease; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan remains dedicated to the provision of sickle cell screening, education, and medical care for individuals and families living with sickle cell disease; and,


WHEREAS, on this day, we unite to increase public knowledge and an understanding of sickle cell disease and the challenges experienced by patients and their families and to improve the lives of those living with sickle cell disease in Michigan;  


NOW, THEREFORE, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, and Garlin Gilchrist II, lieutenant governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim June 19, 2021 as Sickle Cell Day in Michigan.