House DemocraticLeader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today recognized the month of September as Ohio Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness Month.

“This annual observance provides an opportunity to increase awareness and understanding about this major health issue,” said Leader Sykes. “Nearly one in every 365 African-American babies in the U.S. are born with Sickle Cell Disease. That’s why it is so important to know fact from fiction, and to learn more about the risk factors, signs and symptoms, and treatment options available for Ohioans.”

Sickle cell anemia is a serious inherited condition in which red blood cells can become sickle-shaped, similar to the letter “C”.  According to the American Heart Association, people afflicted with the disease have a higher risk of stroke, and attacks can prompt long hospital stays for treatment.

People with sickle cell anemia may have bouts of severe pain in the chest, stomach, arms, legs, or other parts of the body.  This is caused by sickle cells blocking blood flow through the blood vessels in those areas.

“Lifesaving blood donations are vital to help fight sickle cell disease,” Sykes added.  “Please reach out to the American Red Cross if you are considering how you can help.”

The Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross can be reached at 330-535-6131 or

If you or someone you know would like more information on Sickle Cell Diseases you can find resources at the Ohio Department of Health at

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