Thalassemia and sickle cell disease are two types “hereditary hemoglobinopathies.” In other words, they are disorders that affect a person’s red blood cells and they are passed down from parents to their children. Red blood cells carry a protein called “hemoglobin”, which delivers oxygen to all parts of the body. Having a low number or abnormal red blood cells can cause symptoms and syndromes of varying severity including anemia fatigue, pain or, in those sickle cell disease, life-threatening organ damage. Treatment reduces the risk of complications and extend lives. As such, they require a lifetime of close monitoring by a specialized medical professional.
HCS’ hematology program aims to support children and adult Palestinian refugees in Lebanon suffering from thalassemia and sickle cell disease so that they may lead full, productive, lives. HCS covers the full spectrum of their medical care thanks to generous grants from NORWAC and PCRF.
In the future HCS hopes to expand the program to cover the cost of stem cell transplantation (also known as bone marrow transplant), which is currently the only cure for these conditions.