Mr. Silver: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise on behalf of all of my colleagues in the Legislative Assembly to acknowledge Hemochromatosis Awareness Month.
Each year in May, the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society holds an awareness month. Hemochromatosis is a disorder that affects individuals having dangerously high levels of iron in their blood. People affected with this ailment are saturated with iron. It gathers in their heart, liver, kidneys, brain and joints. The subsequent swollen kidneys, liver, heart and brain can be debilitating and sometimes fatal, and iron in the joints causes the early onset of arthritis.
The genetic defect was first diagnosed in 1996 by a team of Californians. It is not at all contagious, but it is passed to individuals through their parent’s DNA. Before gene mapping, it was a challenge to diagnose and required a difficult biopsy, but now it is a simple gene test.
There is no cure, but there is decent treatment. Affected individuals can give blood. The high levels of iron in their blood can be quite beneficial to a variety of different patients. Left untreated, hemochromatosis can increase the person’s risk of diabetes, gall bladder disease, arthritis, cirrhosis of the liver, and many other diseases and conditions.
We need to educate our public. There are resources that I encourage all people listening to explore, including www. hemochromatosis.org, a website entirely dedicated to raising awareness and supporting affected people. By raising awareness, we can reduce suffering and decrease fatalities. Diagnosis requires a simple test, and treatment can even benefit others.
Madam Speaker, I would also like to recognize in the gallery today Richard Mostyn. Richard Mostyn has hemochromatosis, and I would like to recognize him for all the work that he has been doing in raising awareness in his own way, and I applaud him for those efforts.
Mr. Silver: Madam Speaker, spread the word and help reduce the effects of this disorder. Thank you.
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