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National Black Church Initiative Launch News Service for Sickle Cell Disease

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The National Black Church Initiative recently announced the launch of their news service dedicated entirely to the fight against sickle cell disease. 

Titled simply “Sickle Cell News,” the coalition of churches’ latest quarterly news service seeks to draw attention to the effects of the disease. Their mission is to highlight in particular the impact it’s had on the African American community amongst other ethnic groups.

Staying true to its “Giving Voice to Sickle Cell Survivors and Supporters” byline, the National Black Church Initiative will also focus on celebrating individuals across the Atlanta area that are diagnosed with sickle cell disease as they try to get rid of some of the stigmas that surround patients with the illness. 

“We have been in the fight for the past 51 years after physicians were discovering an increasing number of babies dying due to a disease that few people knew about nor researched years prior,” said the Executive Director of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, Tabatha McGee, in a statement. “Our mission, and that of the National Black Church Initiative, is to end the sickle cell cycle through education and information.”

With the “Sickle Cell News” service, the National Black Church Initiative is also helping promote a new act against the illness. Now being sent to Congress for 2023, the newly proposed Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Centers Act of 2022 promises to establish community-based and medical centers focused on treating people with the disease.

While sickle cell disease can affect anyone, members of the African American community are disproportionately diagnosed with the illness. According to the American Society of Hematology, of the 70,000 to 100,000 U.S. citizens that are diagnosed with sickle cell disease, about eight percent are African Americans. Overall, one in 12 people of African descent, including African Americans, carry the trait for the illness. 

Infants are particularly susceptible to getting sickle cell disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 365 African American babies born has it and one in 13 will carry the trait. 

With sickle cell disease, red blood cells are malformed in the shape of a “C,” causing them to get stuck and prevent blood from flowing. As a result, infections, pain episodes, strokes and swelling are all possible symptoms of the disease. 

“This is a revolutionary step as we chronicle the often untold or silenced experiences of the sickle cell disease and the sickle cell warriors of survivors and supporters,” said the President of the National Black Church Initiative, Rev. Anthony Evans, in a statement. “Sickle Cell News will offer a venue to share those experiences as well as those critical resources involving medical, administrative, and related areas necessary toward the livelihood of those impacted by the sickle cell disease.”

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