COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - One advocacy group in the Chattahoochee Valley is getting the word out to young kids suffering from sickle cell disease and their families about learning how to take proper care of their health and understand what the disease does to their bodies.
"The mission of the Association of Sickle Cell is all about helping to educate our community, our public, about sickle cell disease and the effects of the disease on the patient and families," says Lois Williams, President, Association of Sickle Cell, Lower Chattahoochee Region.
And part of this mission, according to Lois Williams, the local chapter's president, is reaching out to young kids in the Valley who may have sickle cell and make sure they get diagnosed before too much damage is done.
Williams says, "They may develop it at a different rate. Different people, different rates. Some, in the hospital, they're sick a lot. Some hardly ever go."
Williams and other advocates also want the community to understand how the disease develops inside the body.
A genetic trait passed down from parent to child, can lead to a mutation of red blood cells - causing them to collapse and form a crescent, moon-like shape.
The sickle-cells clump together and can't carry oxygen throughout the body.
One of the Association's future goals - host a massive camp next summer to bring in kids with sickle cell together and share information and experiences with adults who are living healthy lives despite having the disease.
"You'd have a support group of sickle-cell patients and their families. Get them in our database to know who they are, and to let them know who we are," says Williams.