Sickle Cell Disease
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Sickle Cell and St Jude: A Call To Service

Thursday night September 15, 2016, The Divine Nine and St. Jude Supporters gathered in Long View Gallery in Washington, DC. Longtime friends and supporters joined together during Black Caucus week for fun, celebration, awareness, social engagement, and a call to service. We also joined to discuss and increase awareness about our need to continually support Sickle Cell research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This was the 4th year members of black sororities and fraternities came together to help save our children who are in need of medical care for cancer and sickle cell disease (SCD).  Did you know that about 40% of the patients treated annually at St. Jude are African American?

 

 

A SICKLE CELL PATIENT’S STORY

One of the night’s highlights was hearing from St. Jude sickle cell patient D’Avalon. His story reminded me of the motto I have for my daughter who is also living with SCD: “Sickle cell won’t stop your dreams.” D’Avalon painted a picture of living with  extreme pain from the crescent-shaped red blood cells that sometimes stick together and can prevent major organs from receiving much-needed oxygen.  He also mentioned the tough time sickle cell patients have when they are treated in hospitals outside of St. Jude Children’s Hospital. You see, “St. Jude has one of the largest sickle cell disease programs in the country with more than 800 patients.”

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Unfortunately, sometimes when sickle cell patients visit other hospitals in need of relief from the pain, they meet staff members who are not familiar with how to care for them properly.  Despite his pain, D’Avalon is in college pursuing a degree in accounting and is an aspiring rapper. Listening to D’Avalon’s story helps give parents like me hope for their children. D’Avalon told us of his dreams and talked about hope for his future. I am proud of him, sickle cell pain can be extremely debilitating and distracting but I was grateful to hear that he wasn’t giving up, his determination to keep going and keep fighting to live a better life is admirable.

D’Avalon also shared a personal moment that is all too real in the lives of sickle cell patients. I cried, when he spoke of not looking forward to moving into adult care at a different hospital. This is one of the aspects of the healthcare system and sickle cell treatment that has to get better. There is realistic anxiety associated with moving to a new medical system away from the patient’s childhood hematologist and transitioning into adult care.  My heart and thoughts will be with D’Avalon as he makes this shift.

KELLY PRICE

Five time Grammy winner, Kelly Price, took us back to 90’s with some of her great R&B hits.

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THANK YOU

At the end of the night, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you to the Divine Nine. Thank you Kelly Price for answering the call to service and helping make sickle cell awareness and St. Jude a priority. Thank you D’Avalon for sharing your story. Thank you St. Jude for your commitment to study sickle cell disease.  Thank you St. Jude staff for keeping up the work so that one day founder Danny Thomas’ dream, that “No child should die in the dawn of life” will come to fruition.

Thank you all for your selfless efforts to raise more awareness about sickle cell!

A CALL TO SERVICE

We can all help make sickle cell and cancer patients have a better quality of life. If you’re interested in donating to St. Jude to help further their research and treat more patients click on the picture below:

Donate to St. Jude Children's Research HospitalLEARN MORE ABOUT MY ST. JUDE AMBASSADORSHIP

(Below I shared a little information about the call to service event and blogging during my Brite Radio Interview)

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  • Carissa

    I love everything about this article and how everyone came together for St. Jude!!! I would’ve also loved to hear Kelly Price, her voice is amazing!

    • Thank you, it’s truly an honor to be able to see what St Jude does to make a difference in the lives of families worldwide.

  • Kemkem

    Wonderful post. I love the story of that young man. I had no idea 40% of the patients were African-American. What a wonderful foundation. I have supported in the past and will continue to do so.

    • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has a rich civil rights history. Paul Williams, a well known architect designed the star-shaped hospital building (which he donated his services) and St. Jude became the 1st fully integrated children’s hospital in the southern states in 1962. The hospital staff was also integrated which helped to create more job opportunities for black people in the south. The very foundation of the hospital had our children in mind. Actor, Danny Thomas, built the hospital so children fighting deadly childhood diseases would receive care regardless of race, religion, or financial status.

  • Daria Vinning

    The young man’s story was inspiring. We never know what a person is dealing with so to hear his story was remarkable. I’ve supported St. Jude in the past with donations and do so sporadically. I will eventually make it a monthly contribution. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tamika Hall

    What an inspiring story!! How awesome to have THEE KELLY PRICE there. She is one of my favorites!!

    • Kelly was a highlight, they kept secret until she came out. Last year Vivian Green sang. I really enjoy the event every year.

  • Tiffany Heard

    I love the quote “Sickle Cell wont stop my dreams” I’m so glad he is not letting his sickness stop him from pursuing dreams. I keep hearing a lot of good things about S. Jude seems to be a great organization.

    • St. Jude is a Children’s Research Hospital founded by actor and philanthropist Danny Thomas. He believed that black children should receive the same type of medical care as white children and built a hospital that is making a difference in pediatric care world wide.

  • Eva

    I always learn so much from your posts! Such an inspiration. You know seeing the Divine 9 there to support made me smile. Great post as always.

    • The Divine 9 is amazing! I really wish I went to an HBCU so I could have seen the sororities and fraternities in action. I have many many friend who are committed to volunteering through their chapter and I truly admire their service!

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