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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, which distorts red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape; and
WHEREAS, signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease include low red blood cell count, repeated infections, and periodic episodes of pain; and
WHEREAS, according to the Centers for Disease Control, sickle cell disease is the most common blood disorder in the United States, affecting approximately 100,000 Americans; and
WHEREAS, sickle cell disease can be a life-threatening condition, leading to a 25-30 year reduction in life expectancy; 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 Month will help raise public awareness of individuals and families affected by this disease, and
WHEREAS, The United States Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health have enhanced their development of both genetic and drug therapies; 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 in order to find new treatments and a widely available cure; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 2021 as SICKLE CELL AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.