Sickle cell is a completely avoidable illness. Unfortunately people aren't aware of what sickle cell is or how it's passed on (genetically).
Sickle cell disease causes sufferers severe pain (known as crises), can lead to strokes, lung problems, and even death.
Sickle cell disease is caused by a faulty gene that affects how red blood cells develop. If both parents have this faulty gene, there's a 25% chance of each child they have being born with sickle cell disease.
The child's parents often won't have the condition themselves because they're only carriers of the sickle cell trait, and may not develop any symptoms.
Sickle cell disease is often detected during pregnancy or soon after birth, but this is too late. Blood tests can also be carried out at any age to check for the condition or to see if you're a carrier of the faulty gene that causes it.
I've had an afro for the past 10 years, it has certainly become a key part of my identity. My hair means a lot to me, I've even launched a brand on it (Bros with Fros). The last time I shaved my hair was for Comic Relief 2009.
Please help me raise awareness for sickle cell by sponsoring me today.