The Lord Mayor of Leicester has visited the Haemoglobinopathy Team at the Leicester Royal Infirmary to create awareness about sickle cell disease.
The Lord Mayor, Councillor George Cole, who has chosen to support the Sickle Cell Society during his year in office, was received by Dr Amy Webster, a Consultant Haematologist at Leicester’s hospital, and the Clinical Lead for the East Midlands Haemoglobinopathy Network.
During his visit, he also engaged with patients and staff at the Paediatric Sickle Cell Clinic where he had the opportunity to talk to children living with sickle cell who are currently undergoing treatment and presented them with small gifts.
He was very impressed at the first-hand support provided to patients undergoing treatment and learnt more about what it is like for both children and adults living with sickle cell disease.
“As Leicester’s first black Lord Mayor, I welcome this opportunity to raise awareness of sickle cell disease, especially as it predominantly affects people of African or Asian heritage. We need to find ways to increase our understanding of the disease and the impact it has on young people. It is essential that schools have sufficient support so that young people suffering from this disorder are not disadvantaged” he said.
The Lord Mayor added that he was very impressed by the level of expertise and commitment provided by the team.
Conor Gibson has lived with Sickle Cell his entire life. He was at the hospital to receive his treatment - which involves a transfusion where his blood is removed and replaced every five weeks - on the day of the mayor’s visit. He said:
“The clinic is great, the support and staff involved do a great job of helping sickle patients to understand the treatment process, making life much easier for me.”
Cecilia Marfo, a Ghanaian who relocated to Leicester in May, was happy about the reception received from Psychologists for her daughter who had visited the clinic for the first time since relocating to the UK in May.
There are around 15,000 people in the UK living with Sickle Cell Disease, an inherited blood condition that largely affects people of Black/Caribbean, or South Asian heritage and 228 of those live in Leicester.
Dr Webster said it was a privilege to show the Lord Mayor the Haemoglobinopathy Service at Leicester and welcomed his support in creating awareness about the condition.
“I am glad he had the opportunity to speak to parents and patients about their experience of living with sickle cell disorder. I hope that we can work together to improve local services."
Members of the Haemoglobinopathy Team who met the Lord Mayor, Councillor George Cole, were: Jodie Port - Haemoglobinopathy Network Manager – East Midlands; Marie Copple - Haemoglobinopathy Network Lead Nurse; Sarah Barnes - Clinical Nurse Specialist; Joemol James - Clinical Nurse Specialist; Libby Tadd - Paediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist; Hannah Tiltman – Ward Sister.