This bill sets out to follow the lead of the United Nations and establish June 19 of each year as National Sickle Cell Awareness Day in Canada.
Sickle cell disease is a multisystem genetic blood disorder. It affects every organ of the body, including the eyes, kidney, liver, spleen and brain, and it can lead to stroke in children as young as two years of age.
The disorder is the most common genetic disease in the world. The World Health Organization estimates that the sickle cell anemia trait is found in nearly 100 million people worldwide. It is estimated that 5,000 people live with sickle cell disorder in Canada. Many others in Canada are carriers of the sickle cell trait but do not know it.
Universal screening of babies and healthier lifestyles are key to addressing this crisis — but raising awareness is an important start.
I have met countless patients, families, advocates and caregivers during my time working with the sickle cell community. This bill is for them and I am thankful for their friendship and support.
I am overjoyed to see Bill S-211 pass Parliament with unanimous support. Now passed by both houses, the bill will become law once the governor-general gives it her stamp of approval, otherwise known as Royal Assent.