New Sheffield group launched to support sufferers of genetic blood disorder

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A new support group has been launched to help people in Sheffield affected by a genetic blood disorder.

The organisation for thalassaemia sufferers has been set up in the wake of the closure of the Sheffield Sickle Cell And Thalassaemia (SSCAT) project, which closed recently due to council funding cuts.

The disease affects people from all social groups, but is particularly prevalent in the Pakistani community.

Nighat Khan, who had been a community development worker for SSCAT for 14 years, is responsible for setting up the new group, which is called Thalassaemia South Yorkshire.

She said: “The clients still needed support as there was no service so I continued to offer support on a voluntary basis which led to establishing a small group.

“All work I do currently is on a voluntary basis as I just couldn’t let these people down especially where vulnerable people are involved and who already have a lot on their plate through the illness they have.”

A special launch event for the new group was held last week at St Peter’s Church off Abbeydale Road and was attended by local councillors, hospital consultants and community leaders.

The condition is a group of inherited blood disorders where the part of the blood known as haemoglobin is abnormal and can lead to anaemia.

The only known cures for thalassaemia are a bone marrow transplant and cord blood transplantations. Complications from the disease can affect sufferers’ hearts, livers, bones and spleens.