By Lynn Jones – Hundreds of supporters marched to a silent drum last weekend to bring awareness and work towards a cure for the eradication of sickle cell disease. The 3K walk began with a rousing vocal Star Spangled Banner and a warm-up lead by former Jaguar “Mo” Williams got the walkers off for the three-mile stint to the finish line.
Walkers were led by Team Leaders, who had lost relatives to the disease. With the direction of board member Alpha D. Hay and event manager Eunice Rogers, team leaders “were far more effective” said President Ben Green, who leads the organization’s education and outreach services.
Florida State Senator Audrey Gibson served as the Grand Marshall and joined Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., in financial presentations.
For the past twenty years the National (SCDAA) organization has designated September as Sickle Cell Month to heighten community awareness of prevention. It is the “only effective way to eliminate the disease”, said Dr. C.B. McIntosh, the chapter’s Medical Director; “and the community should know that we provide free sickle cell testing and counseling to individuals and groups”.
Over the summer, the Sickle Cell community lost Orain Reddick a known Sickle Cell carrier and fighter for more “humane” hospital emergency treatment of patients with this disease, many walkers participated in his memory. President Green says the local group needs volunteers and all are welcome to join the race for a cure. Funds from the walk support college scholarships for students with sickle cell anemia, and families with the illness. Requests can be made at the Sickle Cell Office located at 4519 Brentwood Avenue located on the Northside. Pictured l-r is Sickle Cell advocates Monique McCarthy, Medical Director Dr. C.B. McIntosh, President Benjamin Green, Coordinator Alpha Hay, Greg Davis, Eunice Rogers and Wanda Patterson.