Polk State SGA president uses platform to raise awareness of sickle cell

Posted on September 1, 2022 by Polk Newsroom

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States and has many complications. Aaliyah Jones, president of Polk State College’s Student Government Association (SGA) on the Lakeland Campus, has used her platform to raise awareness, address misconceptions, and inspire her peers.

September is National Stem Cell Awareness Month. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, SDC affects about 100,000 Americans. Symptoms include anemia, pain, swelling, frequent infections, and vision problems.

“I’ve used social media, especially my TikTok, to give advice and educate people,” Jones said. “There is a lot of stigma and discrimination with having sickle cell.”

Examples of discrimination related to sickle cell include the workplace and emergency rooms. Patients, Jones points out, are often seen as drug or care seekers with SCD. For employers, applicants with SCD are usually dismissed as unreliable.

“Without him, I wouldn’t know anything about sickle cell,” said Amanda Paige-Morris, Student Activities and Coordinator; Leadership Office (SALO). “I am his first main cheerleader, and I will always support him in his good and bad days, fighting the disease. SALO has always been a family atmosphere and we all welcome him into this family with open arms.”

Jones is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management. One day he wants to run a non-profit for sickle cell research. Unlike with cancer, Jones said, there are few important steps that can be taken to cure or reduce the effects of SCD.

“It’s all a business now,” he said. “I want to help educate people in the fields of medicine and recruitment. There’s so much misinformation out there about the sickle.’

Because SCD affects major organs, Jones noted that carriers need to live their lives more cautiously. For example, what might be a simple cold for others can turn into pneumonia for those with the disease.

Jones had to have his gallbladder removed at age 3. He had his spleen removed when he was 5 years old. The oldest of four children, two of Jones’ three siblings also have SCD. In July, Jones was diagnosed with Category 3 pulmonary hypertension.

“It’s not easy,” Jones said. “There are many challenges. Getting on a plane can lead to a stroke.’

Jones began his fourth year at Polk State in August and is in his second year as SGA president. A Lakeland native, Jones graduated from Kathleen High School in 2018. She also served as student government secretary there and a member of the National Honor Society.

“At SGA, we always say you are a student first and a leader second,” Jones said. “I’ve always had this gift of being very open. SGA teaches you many life skills. I am proud of the way we have supported the students. We’ve done a lot in Tallahassee.”

Jones has been buoyed by the support of the Polk State staff and his family. He cited SALO Director Melvin Thompson, Paige-Morris and SALO Program Assistant Anthony Bates. His aunt KeAndrea Abrahams, who is an ER doctor in Alabama; his sister, Suamone Jones-Harris; her boyfriend, Tyree Andrews; and his hematologist has also been there.

“He’s always involved, even when he was in a hospital bed,” Thompson said of Jones. “He takes it in stride. He is always checking, motivating and supporting his management team. Aaliyah is always kind and welcoming to students and treats people she meets as if she has known them for 20 years; It’s amazing. He does it while holding down a full load and an on-campus job.

His biggest supporter, however, was his mother. Single mother Nikia Leonard-Jones died of complications from sepsis on Thanksgiving Day 2015 when Jones was just 16 years old. Leonard-Jones spent time at Polk State College and often emphasized the importance of education to her children.

“When it came to school, my mom always pushed me to be great,” Jones said. “I became a perfectionist. As an African-American woman, I knew it would be twice as hard.’

Another misnomer, Jones said, is that SCD only affects people. While 1 in 13 black Americans carry the sickle cell trait — as did Jones’ parents — and 1 in 365 births have the disease, only 1 in 16,300 Hispanic Americans are born with SCD, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

“That’s important to remember,” Jones said. “Cellulitis is not just an African-American disease. It affects all people of color.”

As a student, Jones has worked at a manageable pace, taking two or three classes per semester. While working to raise awareness about the disease, Jones refuses to let sickle cell stop her from doing the things she loves. Jones grew up dancing, and spent many years performing with Crystal’s World of Dance in various events.

“Aaliyah Jones is a strong, lively and bubbly student who brings laughter and smiles to SALO,” added Paige-Morris. “When he came to our department, we didn’t know anyone like him, but after one semester, we knew he would be great. Throughout the semesters, she continues to amaze us with her courage in dealing with sickle cell, as well as her passion to educate everyone about the disease and help someone like her survive and thrive as a college student.

Jones enjoys traveling and learning about different dance genres. He also played viola in his high school orchestra.

“My mom was my biggest cheerleader and I’ve always tried to make her proud,” Jones said. “I know it would be. I hope to change the world one day.’

What is the theme for World sickle cell Day 2022?

What is the theme for World sickle cell Day 2022?

SCDAA. September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, designated by Congress to help focus attention on the need for research and treatment of sickle cell disease. Read the President’s proclamation here. This may interest you : Sarah Margaret Hoover. SCDAA’s 2022 theme is Sickle Cell Matters 2022.

Why is sickle cell awareness day celebrated? Every year, on June 19, countries around the world celebrate World Sickle Cell Day, which was originally introduced as a resolution by the United Nations in 2008. The purpose of this day is to recognize and promote sickle cell disease as a public health problem. education about this genetic condition.

What color is sickle cell Awareness Ribbon?

In an effort to raise awareness, Burgundy has been selected as the representative color to help raise awareness of sickle cell disease across the region. On the same subject : Kentucky cheerleaders use flood relief skills.

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Can you donate blood with sickle cell?

Is it safe for people with sickle cell trait to donate blood? yes If you have sickle cell trait, you can still donate blood. On the same subject : SUCCESS by selling lemonade for the benefit of Butler’s cheerleaders – ButlerRadio.com – Butler, PA. There is no evidence to suggest that donating blood poses an additional risk of harm or injury to people with sickle cell trait.

What blood type is sickle cell? Many people with sickle cell have the Ro subtype. This is because sickle cell disease more commonly affects people of black ethnic origin, where the Ro subtype is more common. The number of people with sickle cell has increased and as a result the demand for Ro blood has increased.

What blood type Cannot be donated?

Learn more about your blood type compatibility O negative blood type can only receive O negative blood. CMV-negative O-negative donors are known as Red Cross Baby Heroes because they are the safest blood for transfusions in immunocompromised newborns.

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