34th Annual Sickle Cell Walk Proceeds Despite Rain

Photo courtesy of Hailey Ray

Rain could not keep away participants in the 34th Annual Walk/Run for Sickle Cell held at the Jake Gaither Recreation Center and Golf Course this past Saturday.

More than 200 walkers and runners came out to support the event held by Sickle Cell Foundation Inc.

The foundation works to help individuals with sickle cell anemia to live a better quality of life and increase the knowledge and understanding of the sickle cell disease.

“It is important that we get information out particularly in September because it is Sickle Cell Awareness Month,” Sickle Cell Foundation Executive Director, Thelma Stevens said. She has been working with the walk for more than 10 years.

“We want people to be aware of whether they have the sickle cell trait or not, so that when they get with a partner who may also have the trait they can make an informed decision about having a child.” Velma continued.

Two partners with a sickle cell trait gives their child a 25 percent chance to be born with sickle cell and a 50 percent chance if one partner already has the disease.

“I know so many of our people carry the trait even if they don’t have the disease,” said Brittney Barnes,  an FSU alumni who came in fourth place overall and first out of the females.

“It means a lot to be able to compete in a race for a cause. You can live a healthy life as long as you keep up with your health history. I definitely would like to participate in this race every year.”

Joseph Jones, a sophomore at James Rickards High School who came in third place overall says,

“I came out to support people who have sickle cell disease, like one of my church members and also to improve of my running skills.”

Jewel Darbone co-founder of Bold Lips For Sickle Cell, a movement that began an instagram challenge that has gained national attention expresses that the sickle cell community is a voice that desperately needs to be heard.

“We encourage warriors to be bold and speak up about sickle cell, by using our challenge to spark conversations and shed light on this terrible disease not just this month but all year long.”

For more information on the Sickle Cell Foundation visit online at sicklecellfoundation.org or fb.com/Sickle-Cell-Foundation-Inc.