Howard University Award Margaret Cassell for Championing Sickle Cell
Howard University during their international conference on Stigma “Who Can You Tell” awarded one of Sierra Leone finest beauty queens, a model and advocate for Sickle Cell Margaret Olyve Joan Cassell.
The conference which was done virtually was fully represented from across the world.
Margaret Olyve Joan Cassell (Warrior Cassel) is a Sickle Cell advocate living with the condition from Freetown Sierra Leone. She has a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics and Community Development from Njala University. A beauty Queen and a model using the platform to raise awareness on Sickle Cell Disease, campaigning for people to know their genotype and make informed decisions as a means of preventing the spread of the disease.
Sickle cell is a progressive and unpredictable genetic disorder that affects red blood cells while a genotype is an individual’s collection of genes. The term also can refer to the two alleles inherited for a particular gene. The genotype is expressed when the information encoded in the genes’ DNA is used to make protein and RNA molecules. The expression of the genotype contributes to the individual’s observable traits, called the phenotype.
Margaret Olyve Joan Cassell said she is honoured and grateful for the award. She thanked the University and team for recognising her effort and emphasised that many people don’t find out they have SICKLE CELL TRAIT until they have a child born with SICKLE CELL DISEASE.
In her Sickle Cell Education + Awareness, Warrior Cassel emphasised that Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) cannot become sickle cell disease and vise versa. However, SCT can be passed down to children.
“Sickle Cell disease is not contagious and cannot be passed through body to body contact. It can only be passed down from parent to child.”
She went on to say current treatment options for sickle cell disease include Hydroxyurea, Blood Transfusion and Pain Medications.
“Uncommon fatal complications associated with sickle cell trait can be caused by OVEREXERTION, LOW OXYGEN SUPPLY and/or DEHYDRATION.”
According to Warrior Cassel, Sickle Cell Disease carries two sickle cell genes (or a sickle & an abnormal hemoglobin gene) while sickle cell trait carries one sickle cell gene.
“In genetic testing, it’s important to test not only for sickle cell genes, but other hemoglobin mutations that cause sickle cell disease.”
Sickle cell disease is a lifelong illness. A blood and bone marrow transplant is currently the only cure for sickle cell disease, but there are effective treatments that can reduce symptoms and prolong life.
Warrior Cassel throw her commitment to continue her advocacy as that will help people to know more about the disease and take the necessary precaution before is too late.
Warrior Cassel dream is to reach more people in awareness raising and for lovers to know their genotype before entering into marital relationship.
This story originally appeared on covenantnewspaper and is published here for educational purpose