What do Abraham Lincoln, Genghis Khan and Mother Teresa all have in common? They are all rumoured to have had the condition, haemophilia.
This inherited disease affects the blood’s ability to clot – meaning those with haemophilia will bleed for longer than usual when cut. Whether Genghis Khan had the condition or not, we are sure you’ll agree this would have been a substantial Achilles’ heel for one of the most famous and brutal conquerors of all time.
In the UK, there are more than 6,000 people with this rare bleeding disorder and most of them are male, according to the National Health Service (NHS). Worldwide, there are around 6.9 million people with haemophilia and 75 per cent of them don’t even know they have it, claim the World Federation of Haemophilia (WFH).
Haemophiliacs do not have enough clotting factor VIII (Haemophilia A) or clotting factor IX (haemophilia B) in their blood – the latter variant of the disease being less common.
There’s no cure for haemophilia and without treatment a person with severe symptoms is not expected to live to adulthood.
Why is there an awareness day for haemophilia?
So to raise awareness, funds and better care worldwide, the WFH organises World Haemophilia Day each year on 17 April, something which the international non-profit organisation has done since 1989.
Many people around the world receive little of no treatment for this rare disease. The event aims to increase the availability of treatment for the condition and close the gap between varying levels of treatment around the world.
What can I do?
If haemophilia affects you or someone you know, you might want to get involved in the event. There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Raise awareness on Facebook or Twitter about the need to improve and provide haemophilia care
- Educate those around you who may not know about the condition
- Take part or organise a fundraising activity
- Volunteer at your local haemophilia support group
- Watch this video about the volunteer work the WFH do around the world
- Visit the WFH website for ideas on how to help
- Become a member of the WFH
- Play educational games online on the WFH website
- Take part in the educational programme ‘Journey Around the World’ online
- Make a donation online
- Subscribe to the WFH YouTube channel