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House advances Kidney Fund bill to address chronic blood disorders
Wed, 12 Mar 2014

House advances Kidney Fund bill to address chronic blood disorders

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would provide $50,000 for outreach, research and education about chronic blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia was approved unanimously yesterday by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

House Bill 3450, by state Rep. Anastasia A. Pittman, D-Oklahoma City, transfers funding in the Kidney Health Revolving Fund to be used by the Oklahoma Health Authority on chronic blood disorders.

“This bill has been a collaborative effort between the state health department and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, community partners, Representative Doug Cox, former Congressman JC Watts, Senator Jabar Shumate and I,” Pittman said. “Its intent is to help combat chronic blood disorders in Oklahoma.”

“Representative Pittman, Senator Shumate and I have been working for years to find funds to help Oklahomans with sickle cell disease and other blood disorders,” said state Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove. “It is great to work with the state health department to find a funding source to make this dream come true.”

Supporter of Families with Sickle Cell Disease, Inc, was delighted about the bill’s passage. Individuals with sickle cell disease are an example of who would benefit from the legislation.

“Individuals living with sickle cell disease are people trying to maintain a normal life; trying to achieve the American Dream; stable jobs, good homes, and productive lives,” said Bonnie Johnson, LPN, a member of the advisory board of the organization. “Living with a chronic, deliberating disorder, can hinder them from fulfilling many of their ambitions and aspirations. We at Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease, Inc, assist individuals and families throughout Oklahoma living with Sickle Cell Disease. We are servant leader; providing education, family support and resources, and awareness to our Oklahoma community.”

Sickle cell anemia is a disease passed down through families. The red blood cells of individuals with the diseases become fragile and take on a sickle or crescent shape. The abnormal cells deliver less oxygen and can get stuck in small blood vessels and break into pieces.

Sickle cell disease is much more common in people of African and Mediterranean descent. It is also seen in people from South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

Symptoms usually do not occur until after the age of 4 months. They can include fatigue, paleness, jaundice, shortness of breath and abdominal pain.

The legislation was approved unanimously and now proceeds to the Oklahoma Senate.