A READING based charity wants people to become more knowledgeable about the blood condition for Sickle Cell Awareness Month this September.

Cianna's Smile was named and founded by Earley's Hayley King based on the experiences of her 11-year-old daughter Cianna who was admitted to hospital with her first Sickle Cell crisis at the age of four.

After many tests and hospital visits to see the Paediatric consultant and Haematology nurse, Cianna’s mother knew she wanted to make a difference.

READ ALSO: Reading teenage pregnancy rate among the highest in England.

Cianna’s Smile Charity was born with the aim to decrease isolation for those living with Sickle Cell, support families affected and raise awareness of Sickle Cell in the UK.

Cianna’s Smile proudly offers support to families and children in the Thames Valley who are affected by this condition.

As an established charity for over seven years, the small team organise action groups, days out for families affected by Sickle Cell, alternative therapy workshops and free advocacy training days.

READ ALSO: Top 5 coffee shops in Reading as voted on Tripadvisor.

The core purpose is to explain the facts and dispel myths associated with the healthcare condition.

Charity Founder and Trustee, Hayley King, said: "It is vital to acknowledge Sickle Cell Month to shine a light on the health condition and raise awareness about the illness.

"Sickle cell is a spontaneous illness and what surprises me most is how few people really know what it’s all about.

"We need to break the myths and stigmas and during this month, the Cianna Smile Charity will be sharing stories and facts to engage with our existing and new supporters on social media to get people talking about sickle cell."

It is estimated that between 12,500 and 15,000 people live with the lifelong and debilitating condition in the UK.

It is a largely unknown disease that causes severe pain episodes, (aka a crisis) leading to immediate hospital admission and treatment.

Sickle Cell Anaemia affects haemoglobin, causing the red blood cells to take on a rigid “C” or sickle shape.

Sickle cells can get stuck and block blood flow to specific organs causing complications, pain and decrease oxygen levels. Extreme cases can include stroke, acute chest syndrome, organ damage, and blindness.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May awarded Hayley and the charity with the Point of Light Award in June.

Mrs May said: “Through ‘Cianna’s Smile’ you are creating an important community for families like yours, providing invaluable advice and support.

"The days out you organise for families affected by the disease are vital in tackling loneliness and providing a wonderful treat for the families who benefit.”

The charity also received Community Fund Lottery funding in March for £6900 in order to organise monthly coffee mornings for Sickle Cell patients, advocacy training days, public lectures, awareness wellness days and educational talks for young students.

Proactive activities are organised by the charity to engage with new advocates and existing enthusiasts, with two key dates in the social diary.

On Saturday October 5, a Great Gatsby themed fundraising event will be hosted by the charity in Reading, to continue awareness, education and support for families.

For Black History Month in October, the team from the charity are preparing to deliver a presentation on Sickle cell and the mission, goals and projects offered by the charity.

Employers, Human Resources departments, teachers and the general public will be invited to attend and to raise awareness of Sickle Cell on Thursday October 17.