BY: Freedom Whiting
The Sickle Cell Disease Association of EscaRosa, Inc. had its first annual “Kick-Off Rally” last weekend to promote and support the 5K walk for Sickle Cell 2012 on September 1st. The rally was held at the Fricker Center and included all the fun and excitement of a prep rally.
According to the Center for Disease Control, Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited disease that causes blood cells to form into a crescent shape, which restricts normal blood flow. The disease can be painful and cause serious complications. For some, the disease can result in death.
Sickle Cell can affect any race or ethnicity, but the disease’s primary victims are people of color – especially Black Americans. The CDC states that 1 out of every 500 Black Americans will be born with Sickle Cell, as compared to 1 out 60,000 white American births.
It is with these stark numbers that Leslie Hunter-Huff, the outreach coordinator for the Sickle Cell Disease Association, hopes to bring awareness of the disease to the community. Hunter-Huff says that though the 5k Walk for Sickle Cell has been going on for five years now, this year was the first year for the Kick-Off Rally.
With Hunter-Huff being a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., it was no surprise to see the ladies of Delta attend the rally in large numbers to volunteer. One of those Delta volunteers was Tammy Booker.
Booker was the MC for the event as she kept everyone engaged and excited as she led sections of the crowd in a cheer of, “Beat sickle cell disease!” Booker states that proceeds from the 5k walk will go to help families purchase medications and other forms of support. “I grew up in this community,” says Booker, “so I am making a challenge to everyone in the community to make a difference to combat this disease.”
If you would like more information about signing up for the 5k walk or you would like to volunteer or donate, please visit www.5kwalkforsicklecell.com or call 850-434-6092.