ATLANTA — Landmarks across the city of Atlanta will be illuminated in red light in honor of World Sickle Cell Day.
The day was originally presented as a resolution by the United Nations in 2008 and is meant to raise awareness about sickle cell disease, which is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that affects hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen through the body, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The day has particular meaning to people who live with sickle cell disease, also known as Sickle Cell warriors.
One such person is Keecilon Wright. Wright works as a community health worker and transition specialist with the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of Georgia.
"I'm just grateful just to still be here and be alive and to work as a community health worker," Wright said.
She said that awareness is one of the main things that prevent people from learning more about sickle cell disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease causes sickle-shaped red blood cells that can stick together, blocking blood flow and oxygen from reaching all parts of the body. The shape of the cells can cause complications like severe pain crises.
These complications are something Wright is very familiar with.
"It has affected me with pain crises in my legs and also affects different parts within our bodies," Wright said.
The condition is most common in people of African descent. It also impacts people of Latin and Hispanic heritage and also people of South Asian descent.
For Wright, expanding knowledge about sickle cell disease will help dispel harmful stereotypes about people who live with the condition.
The following landmarks will be illuminated red in honor of World Sickle Cell Day from dusk on June 19 until the morning of June 20.
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Downtown
- King and Queen buildings - Sandy Springs
- Atlanta City Hall (Mitchell Street tower) - Downtown
- Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport – College Park
- Centennial Tower - Downtown
- 1180 Peachtree Skyscraper - Midtown
- Georgia’s Own Credit Union - Downtown
- Georgia International Plaza - Downtown
- 1105 West Peachtree Skyscraper- Midtown