Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response • Have you downloaded COVIDWISE, Virginia's COVID-19 exposure notification app? Add your phone to the fight here. For up-to-date information, assistance, and resources from across state government, click here.

Sickle Cell Awareness Day


WHEREAS, the health and safety of all Virginians is important to the happiness, prosperity, and well-being of our Commonwealth’s families and communities; and

WHEREAS, sickle cell disease is a group of inherited disorders that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body; and

WHEREAS, sickle cell disease causes atypical hemoglobin molecules, called hemoglobin S, which distorts red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape; and

WHEREAS, sickle-shaped cells are not flexible, and can stick to vessel walls and cause blockages that slow or stop the blood flow to nearby tissues; and

WHEREAS, the lack of tissue oxygen can cause attacks of sudden, severe pain, called pain crises, and organ damage; and

WHEREAS, signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease include low red blood cell count, repeated infections, and periodic episodes of pain, and these signs usually begin in early childhood; and

WHEREAS, sickle cell disease is the most common blood disorder in the United States, affecting approximately 100,000 Americans; and

WHEREAS, this disease is most common among peoples who ancestors come from Africa, Mediterranean countries, the Arabian Peninsula, India, and Spanish-speaking regions of South America, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean; and

WHEREAS, sickle cell disease occurs in about 1 out of every 365 African-American births, and 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births; and

WHEREAS, Sickle Cell Awareness Day will help raise public awareness of individuals and families affected by this disease; and

WHEREAS, it is critical that those affected by sickle cell disease have access to quality, affordable care, and that research of this disease continues;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize June 19, 2018, as the SICKLE CELL AWARENESS DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.