On Thursday, July 24, 2008, Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.
(D-IL) congratulated ASH on its 50th anniversary during a speech on the
floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Below is the text of his
speech as published in the Congressional Record.
Madam Speaker, I rise today to commend the American Society of
Hematology (ASH) on its 50th anniversary. I also want to thank
hematologists for their significant contributions to the research,
treatment, and advocacy of sickle cell disease and other blood and bone
Sickle cell disease affects between 50,000 and 100,000 individuals
in this country. In addition, almost 2,000 babies are born with sickle
cell disease each year. While researchers make progress with
treatments, patients continue to suffer from debilitating pain,
frequent infections, anemia, and vision problems. Sickle cell disease
also can lead to serious complications such as blood clots, organ
failure, and strokes.
Undoubtedly, hematologists have helped lead the way in the
development of new therapies and treatments for sickle cell disease. As
a result of their work and advocacy, today's neonatal screening program
has improved the overall health and survival of patients. In 1998,
transcranial screening allowed doctors to identify sickle cell patients
at risk for stroke and treat them with blood transfusions.
Hematologists also have been responsible for pioneering the use of
hydroxyurea in the successful treatment of the disease.
Moreover, ASH has been a leader in sickle cell advocacy by seeking
additional funding for the federal government's sickle cell programs as
well as helping federal agencies identify major scientific
opportunities in basic and clinical research of the disease. ASH was
one of the leading organizations working with Congress on legislation
to create the Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Demonstration Program, a
federally funded program designed to improve and expand patient and
provider education and the continuity and coordination of care for
individuals with the disease. In fact, ASH worked diligently with
congressional leaders to fund this program through August 2010.
I look forward to continuing to work with ASH and its members to
pursue the common goal of expanding research and providing excellent
care for patients with sickle cell disease.
back to top