National Sickle Cell Awareness Day

A diverse group of individuals wearing red ribbons, with a backdrop of a community engaging in activities promoting awareness..
National sickle cell awareness day illustration

Welcome to the fascinating world of National Sickle Cell Awareness Day! Get ready to dive into the history, importance, and a splash of fun facts about this significant observance.

When is Sickle Cell Awareness Day?

It's national sickle cell awareness day on the 19th June.

A Day to Educate, Advocate, and Raise Awareness

National Sickle Cell Awareness Day is an annual event that takes place on June 19th. While it may not involve decorating giant sickle-shaped cookies or participating in a competitive sickle-wielding contest, it's an essential day for spreading information and bringing attention to sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder that affects the structure of hemoglobin, the molecule responsible for carrying oxygen in our red blood cells. Instead of being smooth and round, the red blood cells of individuals with sickle cell disease are crescent-shaped, resembling a sickle or a banana.

This seemingly innocent banana-shape comes with a host of health issues. Sickle cells can get stuck in blood vessels, causing painful blockages and reducing oxygen flow throughout the body. This lack of oxygen can damage organs, bones, and tissues, resulting in severe pain episodes, anemia, stroke, and other complications.

Now that we've had a little biology lesson, let's move on to the purpose of National Sickle Cell Awareness Day. This special day aims to educate the public about sickle cell disease, promote early diagnosis and treatment, and support individuals and families affected by the condition.

So, how can you get involved? Apart from spreading awareness by sharing information on social media, you can also participate in local events, fundraisers, and community initiatives. Even small gestures of support can go a long way in making a difference for those living with sickle cell disease.

Fun Fact: Ironing Out the Details

Did you know that heat can actually help improve the symptoms of sickle cell disease? Applying a warm compress or taking a warm bath can relax the blood vessels and ease the painful episodes experienced by individuals with the condition. Talk about a hot tip!

History behind the term 'Sickle Cell Awareness'


Discovery of abnormal red blood cells

In 1910, a Chicago physician named James B. Herrick observed a peculiar case of anemia in a dental student. Upon examining a blood sample under a microscope, he noticed abnormally shaped red blood cells, resembling a sickle, instead of the usual round shape. This discovery marked the first scientific observation of sickle cell disease.

1940s - 1950s

Understanding the genetic nature of sickle cell

During the 1940s and 1950s, researchers made significant progress in understanding the genetic basis of sickle cell disease. It was discovered that the condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, meaning that both parents must carry the sickle cell gene for their child to inherit the disease. This knowledge paved the way for further research and led to the development of methods to diagnose sickle cell early in life.


Establishment of sickle cell awareness initiatives

In the 1970s, several initiatives were launched to raise awareness about sickle cell disease and promote research for better treatments. Organizations like the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) were established with the goal of improving the lives of individuals affected by sickle cell and educating the public about this inherited blood disorder.


Recognition of World Sickle Cell Awareness Day

In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly recognized June 19th as World Sickle Cell Awareness Day. This global observance aims to increase awareness and understanding of sickle cell disease, address the challenges faced by individuals with the condition, and advocate for better access to quality healthcare.

Present day

Ongoing efforts in sickle cell awareness

Today, sickle cell awareness continues to be a crucial aspect of promoting early diagnosis, improving treatment options, and reducing the stigma associated with the disease. Various organizations, medical professionals, and individuals work tirelessly to support individuals and families affected by sickle cell, advocating for better research, healthcare, and public understanding.

Did you know?

Did you know that heat can actually help improve the symptoms of sickle cell disease? Applying a warm compress or taking a warm bath can relax the blood vessels and ease the painful episodes experienced by individuals with the condition.


awareness health support

First identified

19th June 2015

Most mentioned on

19th June 2018

Total mentions


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