Sickle Cell Disease
The Ruby Ball Sickle Cell Gala

It was a cool autumn night beside the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Guests were eager with anticipation to see what the Ruby Ball would reveal. Baltimore’s Visitor Center was crimson red like the blood that flows through our veins. The guests knew the reason for the night was one of bittersweet joy because sickle cell disease continues to be ever growing. The first ever Ruby Ball sickle cell awareness and fundraising Gala was a night to remember.

The Ruby Ball Oct 13, 2018

The room was impeccable. Guests were dressed to the nines and the music made you want to groove with giddy hope and excitement. Attendees were all supporting the night for their own reasons, some were people living with sickle cell disease, several were parents who had a child with a sickle cell disorder, some were doctors, others were friends and family. One reason that brought us together was that we all want to see sickle cell eradicated one day.


Why did I attend?

Surprisingly, this was my first time attending an event connected with the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA). As a parent and a sickle cell advocate, I wanted to paint the night red with support. By attending I got so much more than just entertainment and good food, I was given hope.



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🌹 🌹 🌹 The Ruby Ball is meant to create a voice and break the silence through awareness by providing a platform to empower those living with sickle cell, and enlighten individuals within our community in regard to the disease. To learn how you can help or contribute please visit the link in @therubyball bio. ♥️ #SupportASickleCellWarrior ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #therubyball2018 #sicklecell #sickcell #charityevent #donate #instahealth #health #world #instaworld #sickcelldisease #conquerSCD #cell #disease #therubyball #sicklecellawareness #awareness #blood #anemia #SCD #giveback #resilient #goodcause #donatenow #donatetoday #socialimpact

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What was the Ruby Ball Gala all about?

The Ruby Ball is a Sickle Cell Awareness and Fundraising Gala in which 100% of proceeds will go to @scdaaorg to help families dealing with sickle cell disease. The founder, Ijeoma Azubuko, is a sickle cell warrior who wanted to lend her talents to the cause and help others who like her fights every day of their lives to stay alive. One of Ijeoma’s friends who lived with Sickle Cell passed away and to honor the memory of her beloved friend she partnered with the SCDAA to host an event that set the bar high and gave parents like me hope for their children’s future.


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When you stand among greatness you can only hope some rubs off on you. . . Real talk, I needed to attend @therubyball and I didn’t even realize how important it was going to be to me as a parent. . . The truth is sometimes I struggle knowing that I have a child living with two unpredictable illnesses. Although she isn’t hospitalized often in my heart I just know that her body has to endure a lot and I try to retrain my thoughts not to worry that she may not live to fulfill her full potential. . . At the Ruby Ball I was able to see that Sickle Cell has hope, it has the face of excellence! . . Among those with sickle cell, it was clear to me that they have an unending drive. One where they see the real importance of life daily. They live each day to the fullest and strive to share their gifts in abundance. . . Truly for the first time in a long time, tonight I was able to envision my daughter as an adult, living on her own, advocating, learning, growing, thriving, and winning. The fact that I could see and feel it in my bones means everything to me!!! . . . Thank you Ijeoma Azubuko and Bethany Chasteen! You are both beautiful inside and out. . . #therubyball2018 #rubyball #thankful #sicklecellgala #sicklecellawareness #sicklecellwarrior #sicklecellanemia #sicklecelldisease #sicklecellmatters #sicklecellstrong #sicklecelleducation #sicklecelllife #sicklecellfundraiser #sicklecellwarriorprincess #sicklecellsoldiers #geneticblooddisorder #itsgenetic #melaninpoppin #blackgirlmagic #blackgirlsrock #blackgirlshairstyle #naturalbeauty #queen👑 @scdaa #scdaa #womenempowerment #empoweringwomen #charity #melaninqueen #gala

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(L-R Bethany Chasteen, model and sickle cell disease warrior, me, blogger and mom of a child living with sickle cell, and the founder of the Ruby Ball Ijeoma Azubuko)

I was grateful to have my husband join me at the event. Together we believe that by supporting sickle cell events, we can help raise awareness for the disease and see more people cured and less tragic deaths.  We want more parents to be able to their children grow up and thrive.

5 Facts about Sickle Cell Disease that People should know

  1. About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with sickle cell trait (SCT).
  2. Sickle Cell Disease was first reported in 1910 in the “Archives of Internal Medicine,” by James B. Herrick of Chicago.
  3. Sickle Cell Disease is not contagious, it’s an inherited blood disorder that a person receives from his or parents.
  4. Complications from Sickle Cell occur when the patient’s red blood cells are unable to pass freely throughout the body. The result causes immense pain (referred to as a pain crisis). Over time, SCD patients often suffer from organ failure to various parts their bodies and lead to death.
  5. Sickle Cell disorders are often attributed to people of African descent but people from different ethnicities and walks of life can have sickle cell disease, which makes it the most common genetic disorder in the world.

Dr. Ify Enegized the Crowd With Her Keynote Address

Dr. Ifeyinwa Osunkwo, a world-renowned oncologist and hematologist who practices in Charlotte, NC energized the room. Please watch her Keynote below.



The night was a huge success! One of the best moments of the night was seeing the joy in Beverley Francis-Gibson’s facial expression when she was called to the front to receive a check for $10,000 to help support SCDAA chapters across the United States. Dr. Beverley is the current and 5th president of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America based in Baltimore, MD. You can still donate to help us find a universal cure so that families don’t have to see their loved ones suffer from sickle cell anymore.


Learn more about Sickle Cell Disease below

Ascaa.Org, 2018, Accessed 16 Oct 2018.