Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to rise today to talk about designating June 19 as national sickle cell awareness day. When we think about this devastating disease, it certainly is an opportunity for us to realize how blessed we are in this country, not only those who are living without such a difficult illness, but also those who are living with it, because we are in a country where there is the possibility for help. There is a health care system in place and a House of Parliament that can talk about the many issues Canadians are facing.
That is exactly what the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has done by bringing up this awareness day. I commend the member for his work on behalf of his constituents and the people across this country who are suffering from this illness. Certainly, I know that the more than 2,000 people who are dealing with this would be very thankful to the member and the House as we discuss the awareness day for June 19.
There are a lot of issues that go along with this illness that we have been able to research and talk about, but there are so many Canadians out there who do not know about them. The idea of this awareness day is to get the word out. That would help researchers and those who are perhaps working to find ways to correct or deal with the illness. This motion and the designation of June 19 would help those individuals by providing awareness and marketing of what it is, and how they can help in the process of one day eventually defeating it.
Oftentimes when we see these sorts of days come forward, I certainly know there are some out there who would suggest that these are empty gestures. That is not the case. This is a great opportunity to talk about something that is afflicting many people in this country and around the world, and to do some very good work on behalf of those who are suffering from this illness and their families who are supporting and caring for them.
Today, I want to thank the member and offer my support. On June 19, I will be speaking to my children and letting them know what it is and what to look for in working with other people in the community, or boys and girls in their school, who may be dealing with this issue. We want to try to get awareness out there to ensure that as many people know about it as possible, as much support for research is offered as possible, and that the families know more than anything else that they are not alone through this fight.
I certainly look forward to the passing of this bill.