Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Merton Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Society at the Cherry Red Records Stadium!

The AFC Wimbledon Experience has been a great success this season (so much so that I’m even thinking of submitting a short article for the match-day programme) and one happy band to have come down to see us were the Merton Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Group. They came along to see our recent draw against Aldershot, and like many of our visitors this was their first experience of a football match.

One of the interesting benefits of the AFC Wimbledon Experience has been learning about many of the conditions affecting the youngsters that are visiting us and to be honest I never really understood exactly what Sickle Cell Anaemia was. Apparently it’s all about red blood cells. Normally doughnut shaped they are soft, squidgy and can squeeze through the tiniest of arteries. If you like, blood flow with normal red cells is not unlike small polystyrene balls being sucked up a vacuum cleaner hose. Red blood cells affected by Sickle Cell on the other hand are more rigid and elongated. In that instance blood flow is not unlike trying to suck up twigs. Not only will the sticks not go up small pipes, but quite often there’s a massive blockage – known to sufferers as a ‘crisis’, for obvious reasons. On top of all that the blood cells neither work as well nor live as long as they should, often leading to anaemia. Apart from being very painful, repeated oxygen deprivation to the body’s organs leads them to weaken and fail at an earlier stage. Sadly sickle cell sufferers often fail to see their 50th year.
This is a worrying and debilitating condition for the sufferers and their families who help manage the condition as best they can. For once though, they were all able to get out, meet up, exchange news and enjoy the new experience of celebrating a goal scored by Stacy Long from just in front of their seats!

Haydon as always was a big hit, the burgers hit the spot and they left happily clutching their programmes and wearing their souvenir badges. They were a very friendly group and it was a real pleasure to have them at the ground and I hope they remember their day at AFC Wimbledon with affection!

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