World Sickle Cell Day was launched in 2008 following adoption of a UN resolution that recognizes the fight against sickle cell disease as a “public health priority”. Since then, June 19 marks a high point in public awareness and fund-raising campaigns. LVMH has contributed to the battle against sickle cell disease for the past ten years by providing financial support for teams at Robert-Debré Hospital. In addition to purchases of medical equipment needed to care for hospitalized children, the funds are also invested in research that will lead to treatment for this disease, for which no cure has yet been found. LVMH is spotlighting this commitment in conjunction with the 2020 edition of World Sickle Cell Day.
Sickle cell disorders are caused by a genetic mutation in red blood cells, which carry oxygen in the blood. They deform normal red blood cells, rendering them stiff and sickle shaped, preventing them from moving freely around the body through blood vessels to deliver oxygen to organs. At the same time, it makes sickle-cell carriers resistant to the life-threatening effects of malaria, which explains why the disease has such a high prevalence in populations of Caribbean, African and Mediterranean origin.
Sickle cell anemia is one of the world’s most widespread genetic disorders, affecting over five million people worldwide. It is estimated that more than 250,000 children are born with the disease each year. Without medical care and community support, the disease kills between 50 and 80 percent of children affected before the age of five due to infections as common as a cold or bronchitis, or from anemia, which leads to a lack of oxygen in body tissues.
LVMH has been actively involved in the fight against sickle cell anemia since 2011, providing support for teams at Robert Debré Hospital in Paris, one of the world’s leading research centers for the disease, to help them care for children with this rare disease.
As part of this commitment, LVMH organizes an annual “Dîner des Maisons Engagées” – a “Committed Companies Dinner” hosted by Toni Belloni, Group Managing Director, and Chantal Gaemperle, Group Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Synergies. Attended by numerous LVMH Maisons, the dinner raises funds to help the hospital purchase equipment to improve the lives of hospitalized children, and also to finance research by the medical team at Robert-Debré hospital. Staff from the hospital are invited to the dinner to help raise awareness of sickle cell disease and share progress in their research.
Thanks to funds donated by LVMH, in 2016 the internationally-renowned sickle cell disease research center at Robert-Debré Hospital announced important advances in supportive therapy and has also been able to better understand patient needs and improve treatment for hospitalized patients.