The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted H.R. 867, introduced by State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, which recognizes the contributions of Pittsburgh Steeler safety Ryan Clark in the fight against sickle cell anemia.
Sickle cell anemia affects 1 in 500 African-Americans and 1 in 900 Hispanic-Americans, while 1 in 12 African-Americans and 1 in 16 Hispanic-Americans carry the trait in their genes. For those who are affected by this disease, oxygen-carrying red blood cells can become misshapen and have trouble passing through small blood vessels, which can lead to severe pain and organ damage, and even death.
Mr. Clark has publicly disclosed how the disease affects him as an athlete. It cost him his spleen and gallbladder and prevents him from playing in high-altitude venues such as Denver.
Mr. Clark said in addition to his own illness, his family has suffered loss due to the disease.
"The loss of my sister-in-law and my own life-threatening experience with sickle cell gave me insight into the intense agony people with the disease go through daily. I am proud that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is recognizing this today," he said.
"I congratulate Ryan Clark for his efforts and wish him success in his effort to find a cure for sickle cell anemia," Rep. Readshaw said. "Ryan and his family are my constituents and I am proud to call them friends."
Mr. Clark's football duties kept him from Harrisburg, but Rep. Readshaw will present a copy of the resolution to him in person in the near future.