Sickle Cell Awareness Challenge kicks off to support patients

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Organizations from across Memphis are coming together to bring awareness to a deadly disease, Sickle Cell Disease.

“What happens with Sickle Cell Disease, if you think of sickle as a C or S shape, that’s how some of the red blood cells are actually in the bloodstream,” said Dr. Helen Mitchell, family nurse practitioner.

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The women of Memphis’ Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated are taking their community activities to the next level with the hopes of bringing more awareness to Sickle Cell Disease.

“When the sickle cells and circle blood cells get together, they can clog up and not flow properly which causes the sickle cell patient to have a crisis,” Mitchell said.

Those moments of crisis can have symptoms that range from infections to organ damage for the nearly 3,000 people who live with it in Shelby County.

Organizations around Memphis are coming together for one cause and that’s to bring awareness to Sickle Cell in partnership with the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee.

“It’s very hurtful when you have family members who are suffering especially with this painful condition,” said Dr. Patricia Adams-Graves, chair of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee.

The Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee works to make sure those families and their loved ones have support.

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“They know they have a short lifespan and have difficulties maintaining employment because they have unpredictable, painful events, interruptions of life,” said Adams-Graves. “Therefore, we provide burial support.”

Adams-Graves said so far, the foundation already provided support for at least four or five funerals this year.

“We need help,” said April Hubbard, president of Memphis Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. “This foundation needs help because so much goes west and we don’t have enough to come here. So that’s why the Sickle Cell Awareness Challenge is very important for people to go on there and donate and help this cause.”

The friendly challenge is simple. It begins Saturday with a webinar where you’ll learn more about sickle cell and hear from some people who live with the disease.

After that, you promote your team to see who will get the most donations.

The challenge lasts until May 1.

Throughout the entire month, the true goal is to raise awareness.

“As it says in the Bible, he just wants you to tell it,” Mitchell said. “Just tell anything that you know about Sickle Cell. Just bring it. Spread the word. Educate.”

The challenge is set.

To participate, visit the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee website.