U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) this week joined Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in introducing a resolution recognizing September as Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Awareness Month.

SCD is a genetic disorder that affects approximately 100,000 Americans, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.  There are at least 2,500 African Americans in Mississippi living with sickle cell disease at any one time, according to the Mississippi Sickle Cell Foundation and the Mississippi Department of Health.

“This resolution encourages greater understanding of this disease, which affects too many Mississippians.  It also recognizes and supports more advancements in treating and finding a cure,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

In addition to Scott and Hyde-Smith, Senators Bill Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) cosponsored the resolution.

The following is the text of the resolution:

Expressing support for the designation of September 2020 as “Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month” in order to educate communities across the United States about sickle cell disease and the need for research, early detection methods, effective treatments, and preventative care programs with respect to complications from sickle cell disease and conditions related to sickle cell disease. 

Whereas sickle cell disease (referred to in this preamble as “SCD”) is an inherited blood disorder that is a major health problem in the United States and worldwide;

Whereas SCD causes the rapid destruction of sickle cells, which results in multiple medical complications, including anemia, jaundice, gallstones, strokes, restricted blood flow, damaged tissue in the liver, spleen, and kidneys, and death; 

Whereas SCD causes acute and chronic episodes of severe pain;

Whereas SCD affects an estimated 100,000 individuals in the United States;

Whereas approximately 1,000 babies are born with SCD each year in the United States, with the disease occurring in approximately 1 in 365 newborn African-American infants and 1 in 16,300 newborn Hispanic-American infants, and can be found in individuals of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Indian origin; 

Whereas more than 3,000,000 individuals in the United States have the sickle cell trait and 1 in 13 African Americans carries the trait;

Whereas there is a 1 in 4 chance that a child born to parents who both have the sickle cell trait will have the disease;

Whereas the life expectancy of an individual with SCD is often severely limited.

Whereas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported, based on the evidence available as of September 2020, that individuals of all ages who are affected by SCD are at increased risk of developing severe illness from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19);

Whereas, while hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (commonly known as “HSCT”) is currently the only cure for SCD and advances in treating the associated complications of SCD have occurred, more research is needed to find widely available treatments and cures to help individuals with SCD; and

Whereas September 2020 has been designated as Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month in order to educate communities across the United States about SCD, including early detection methods, effective treatments, and preventative care programs with respect to complications from SCD and conditions related to SCD:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) supports the goals and ideals of Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month; and 

(2) encourages the people of the United States to hold appropriate programs, events, and activities during Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month to raise public awareness of preventative care programs, treatments, and other patient services for those suffering from sickle cell disease, complications from sickle cell disease, and conditions related to sickle cell disease.

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