Sickle Cell Month button

Showing love comes in many forms. A bouquet of flowers can make anyone smile. A home-cooked meal can satisfy the heart and soul. But how do you express love for those suffering from Sickle Cell Anemia disease amid the COVID-19 pandemic? You host a drive-thru parade of course. 

The Sickle Cell Anemia Disease Society (SCADS) will host a parade Saturday, September 26, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Kennedy Center at 214 Gourdin Street in Greeleyville. In January 2011, SCADS was founded by Rochelle Parson Daniels and fell under the leadership of the Parson family in Greeleyville. The idea for the organization was to create a foundation to honor Vernell Parson Graham, a Sickle Cell warrior. 

Traditionally the society hosts a walk in September, which is the month designated to recognize Sickle Cell disease. This will be their committee’s ninth consecutive event but with the pandemic continuing to dictate social distancing, they chose to go a different route. “We didn’t know what we were going to do, if we were going to do anything because of the COVID-19 but then we started getting phone calls,” said Vernell Graham. “They wanted to know what we were going to do so we talked about it and decided to come up with the drive-by.” Everyone is asked to decorate their vehicles in support of this worthy cause. A COVID-19 care packet will be given to each vehicle. 

Each year, one in 500 African Americans are born with the Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). It is an inherited blood disorder that occurs more commonly in African Americans. At present, there is no universally known cure for the Sickle Cell Disease however, according to the American Sickle Cell Anemia Association, scientists have had success in developing drugs that will prevent the symptoms of sickle cell anemia and procedures that should ultimately provide a cure. Donations are welcome. 

Early diagnosis of sickle cell anemia is critical so that children who have the disease can receive proper treatment. More than 40 states now perform a simple, inexpensive blood test for sickle cell disease on all newborn infants.

The test is performed at the same time and from the same blood samples as other routine newborn screening tests. Hemoglobin electrophoresis is the most widely used diagnostic test. If the test shows the presence of sickle hemoglobin, a second blood test is performed to confirm the diagnosis. 

These tests also tell whether the child carries the sickle cell trait.