To raise awareness, encourage early testing, treatment, and focus attention on finding a cure, the U.S. Postal Service will issue the 37-cent Sickle Cell Disease Awareness postage stamp on Sept. 29 in Atlanta at the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America's 32nd Annual Convention.
Affecting one in 12 African Americans, sickle cell disease damages blood cells by changing smooth and round cells into sickle shapes and making them hard and sticky. This results in the blocking of blood flow and damage to organs. Complications range from intense pain to stroke or death.
Stamp illustrator and designer James Gurney of Rhinebeck, NY, created a tender image of a mother holding her baby for the Sickle Cell Disease Awareness commemorative stamp. Featuring the inscription "Test Early for Sickle Cell," the design conveys the importance of early testing. Gurney, best known for his highly acclaimed "Dinotopia" books, created fifteen U.S. postage stamps for the 1997 World of Dinosaurs commemorative pane.