Keely Harris spoke about g6pd deficiency, its definition, origins,  effects, and treatment, and of the work of  the g6pd Deficiency Foundation at our regular meeting on Wednesday, July 19th.
G6PD (Glucose -6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase) is an enzyme needed to make essential compounds in one’s body while protecting red blood cells; G6PD deficiency is an inherited genetic enzyme disorder.  Unprotected red blood cells will break down quickly and release the toxin, bilirubin, leading to brain damage and other, potentially severe, medical issues.
Keely’s involvement began when her newborn grandson Brody was diagnosed with a common jaundice that later proved to be severe, with toxic levels of bilirubin, resulting in brain damage. Subsequent tests revealed that Brody suffered from G6PD deficiency.
Keely’s family was shocked to learn that this problem is fairly common - 30% of children that have this form of brain damage also have G6PD deficiency. Moreover, families never hear about this deficiency, are generally told everything is normal by pediatricians, and are never informed how damaging neonatal jaundice can be.  Keely then committed to an effort to assure that all parents learn the signs of newborn severe jaundice and of the potentially devastating consequences.
Keely founded the G6PD Deficiency Foundation, and is its president. The foundation’s mission is to (1) provide effective and enriching seminars and literature that inform the public about G6PD deficiency and (2) to provide financial contributions to indigent families to assist them with covering expenses related to their G6PD deficiency health care.
The foundation encourages everyone to become familiar with g6pd deficiency, and to pass the word whenever and wherever possible.
They are holding their first awareness event - a “Paddle or Peddle” scavenger hunt to learn more about G6PD enzyme deficiency by land or by sea. The event takes place on the morning of Saturday, August 3rd, beginning at the Babylon Village Pool.
Complete information about g6pd deficiency, the work of the foundation and “Paddle or Peddle” event details is contained on their excellent website:
Keely is shown above with Babylon Rotary President Jim Kanzler.