Celebrated on the 8th of May, the International Thalassemia Day is devoted to raising awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about thalassemia, promoting and strengthening the lifelong and difficult struggles of patients against this severe blood disease, and commemorating all the people who are no longer with us, while renewing our promise to keep fighting until the final cure for thalassemia is found.
Every year since 1994, the Thalassemia International Federation (TIF) is organizing many diverse activities for the International Thalassemia Day, with the objective to draw the attention of general public, patient associations, public authorities, healthcare professionals, and industry representatives, to fuel discussions and promote actions on a particular theme related to the prevention, management or treatment of the disease in a patient-centred manner.
Thalassemia is a genetic hemoglobin disorder. Hemoglobin is the iron-rich protein found in red blood cells. The function of hemoglobin is to transport oxygen to the blood. A person with thalassemia has less than normal amounts of hemoglobin. This can make life very difficult, as it usually requires multiple blood transfusions. Some people with the disease need a blood transfusion every two weeks.
Thalassemia causes a variety of symptoms in the body. Some of these symptoms include anemia, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, increased risk of infections, and abdominal swelling. Some people with thalassemia also have too much iron in their system. When the body has too much iron, it can damage the heart and liver.