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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI)-Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic blood disease in the country, impacting more than 70,000 people in the U.S., and is a very serious condition. But, there is a large knowledge gap around what the disease is, who`s at risk and what complications and treatments exist. On April 23, a number of patient advocacy groups and local health departments are uniting to educate more than 300 area residents – mostly university students – about the disease and the importance of testing. The Sickle Cell Awareness Day will be held at Harris Stowe State University from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Isaac Singleton Jr. is a student at Saint Louis University and also lives with Sickle Cell disease. This morning, he sat down with Pertz to talk about living with the disease and the positive impact awareness has on it.

On Saturday, attendees will learn from a variety of experts, doctors and hematologists about the disease and organizers will encourage attendees to be tested for the sickle cell trait. Partners of the event include the American Red Cross, St. Louis Integrated Health Network, St. Louis Regional Health Commission, Heartland SCD Network, Washington University and Pfizer.

‘This serious, chronic blood disease changes a person`s red blood cells and hinders their ability to work properly,’ said Washington University in St. Louis pediatrician and assistant professor Dr. Allison King, MD, MPH. ‘Rather than soft and round, sickle cell disease causes red blood cells to become hard and `sickle-shaped` – making it difficult for the cells to perform their duty of carrying oxygen to the body`s organs.’

Additional information:

FACE Sickle Cell St. LouisSickle Cell Awareness Day
Harris Stowe State University
Saturday, April 23
8:30 to 11:30 a.m.