The Ohio Regional Sickle Cell Projects, in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Health Sickle Cell Services Program, in 2014 unveil a new campaign during September Sickle Cell Month to raise awareness of the most common genetic blood disease in the U.S. Take Time, Know Your Status or #TTKYS – is the tile of the new statewide campaign focused on raising awareness of sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait through the use of social media platforms. The message of “Take Time, Know Your Status”, hones in on the personal responsibility of each individual to know if they carry the gene for sickle cell and the importance of getting TESTED!
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, approximately three million people in the U.S. have sickle cell trait. Thousands more are unaware of their trait status. “It is important for individuals to know if they carry the gene for sickle cell prior to having children” say Cheryl Jones, Program Coordinator for the Sickle Cell Services Program at the Ohio Department of Health. “If both parents have sickle trait, there is a 25% chance with each pregnancy that their child will have sickle disease. Sickle cell disease is a serious, life-long blood disease. That is why it is so important to know your sickle status.”
The #TTKYS campaign will target at-risk populations in the general public and among teenagers and young adults who may be unaware of their sickle status. The use of social media platforms will allow for the message to reach a broader audience base. The campaign will also use the #TTKYS acronym as a logo to brand products (e.g.t-shirts, banners) for distribution to the target audience and to sickle cell community partners. This type of format will allow the target audience and community partners to join in on the sickle cell movement.
The #TTKYS campaign joins the “FACE Sickle Cell” campaign – which unveiled by ODH in 2008 – put an important face on sickle cell disease in Ohio. Originally developed and created by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, “FACE Sickle Cell” was designed to build awareness of the two most important facts about sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease:
- Sickle cell affects people of different races, ages, genders and social status.
- Sickle cell genetic and it can be a “piece” of what we pass on to our children. So, we must always consider who we are a part of and who is or will be a part of us!
The “FACE Sickle Cell” campaign continues to be an important resource in our arsenal to educate, inform and empower the residents of Ohio.
For more information on how YOU can get involved contact a Sickle Cell Project in your region (https://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhprograms/cmh/scell/scell1.aspx).