On Wednesday 8th May, International Thalassaemia Day, Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Farah Khan, Anil Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Huma Qureshi, Kunal Kapoor and Ayushmann Khurrana posted a picture of their half faces, sharing a common message along with it. This was an achievement of the Wishing Factory founder Partth Thakur, an Indian national living with the condition.
Romaine Maharaj, Executive Director of United Kingdom Thalassaemia Society added “It is great to have such famous celebrities supporting the awareness programmes for this chronic condition. With increased understanding of thalassaemia among the general public and in particular amongst high-risk groups, this condition could and should be consigned to the history books.”
People with thalassaemia major cannot make enough haemoglobin in their red blood cells. Consequently, they need frequent and regular blood transfusions throughout their lives. If left untreated, a child born with thalassaemia major would die in early infancy. In parallel, they also need chelation treatment to remove the excess iron that comes from regular blood transfusions. Iron overload is extremely harmful and can lead to organ damage and ultimately failure. Beta-thalassemia is prevalent in Mediterranean countries, the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Southern China, and the Far East as well as countries along the north coast of Africa and in South America. Every year, at least 75,000 children are born with thalassaemia worldwide. In the UK there are currently over 1,200 patients living with thalassaemia. With medical advances, most people with thalassaemia who adhere to a medical treatment regime, are able to manage the condition and live full lives. However, with better awareness and more effective screening, it could be eradicated.
If you would like to be tested for thalassaemia, ask your GP for a simple blood test. Or if you would like more information about the condition, please contact UKTS on firstname.lastname@example.org