June 17, 2022

Van Hollen, Booker Introduce Resolution Supporting World Sickle Cell Awareness Day

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in introducing a resolution expressing support for the designation of June 19, 2022 as “World Sickle Cell Awareness Day” to increase public awareness about sickle cell disease and the continued need for research, early detection, and effective treatments that lead to a cure. The resolution was also cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.). Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Danny Davis (D-Ill.-07th), Michael Burgess (R-Texas-26th), Burgess Owens (R-Utah-4th), G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.-1st), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.-13th).

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a rare, inherited disorder that causes a person’s red blood cells to become deformed and get stuck in their veins, blocking oxygen flow throughout the body. In the United States, 100,000 people are affected by SCD, including 1 in every 365 African-American births, and 1 in every 16,300 Hispanic-American births. Around the world, sickle cell disease affects millions of people, particularly in certain areas of sub-Saharan African, eastern Saudi Arabia, and central India. In countries with fewer resources, more than 90 percent of children diagnosed with sickle cell disease do not live to see adulthood.  Despite being the most common inherited blood disorder in our country, research, treatment, and awareness efforts for the disease still lag far behind other chronic illnesses.

“Sickle cell disease impacts millions of people every year, and yet for too long it hasn’t received the resources necessary to fight it. Raising awareness about this disease – and increasing funding to better understand, detect, and treat it – has got to be a priority. For me, this issue hits close to home, as my office recently lost a beloved member of our team to sickle cell disease. I will continue working to honor his memory – and the memory of all of those lost to this disease – with action,” said Sen. Van Hollen. 

“Sickle cell disease continues to be a global health concern affecting millions of people,” said Sen. Booker. “In the United States and worldwide, the disease disproportionately impacts Black people, and over 90 percent of children with the disease in regions with poor health care infrastructure and a lack of medical resources do not reach adulthood. This resolution calls on the United States to lead in developing new and innovative therapeutic approaches as well as global initiatives to support people living with sickle cell disease.”

“Sickle Cell Disease is not a partisan issue but rather, one that is nonpartisan.  From working across the aisle to working alongside my colleagues in the Senate, it is a policy area that desperately needs addressing”, said Congressman Danny Davis. “Senator Booker has remains a champion for patients living with Sickle Cell and their families to help bring better treatment options including a cure for this rare disease.”

 “Sickle cell disease can lead to many medical complications – but even though millions of people around the world are affected by this disease, research, detection and treatment are too far behind,” said Sen. Brown. “As a nation, we must commit ourselves to gaining a better understanding of sickle cell disease through research, and must also develop a better treatment strategy for patients around the globe.”

“Sickle cell disease impacts nearly 100,000 Americans, many of them young children of color who require frequent, high-quality medical care,” said Sen. Padilla. “We must strengthen our health care system and increase medical resources for Americans impacted by this disease. I’m supporting this resolution to reaffirm our commitment to making the United States a leader in developing more efficient practices for researching and treating sickle cell disease.”

Full text of the resolution can be found here