The Sickle Cell Foundation is pleased to announce its expansion into Madison County. We offer services to clients with Sickle Cell disease and trait. The Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc. was founded in February of 1980 and is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization. The foundation is a part of 16 chapters under the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Florida. The area covered locally by the foundation includes Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, and Taylor counties. The Sickle Cell Foundation will conduct monthly support group meetings in Madison. The meetings are schedule for the last Monday of each month at the Madison County Public Library from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The foundation will also conduct monthly community awareness events throughout Madison County.
The program attempts to meet two major needs concerning sickle cell disease. The first of which is education and outreach. One of the foundation’s chief goals is to educate our community and its members about what sickle cell disease is and how it affects individuals and families suffering from the diagnosis. The program also seeks to educate the citizens living in our area about the differences between sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease and the great importance of knowing whether you or the person you decide to have children with have the sickle cell trait or sickle disease.
The second goal of the foundation is to provide direct assistance to individuals and families affected by sickle cell disease when they are in the midst of a crisis. There are many individuals who are born with sickle cell disease that struggle with basic daily life tasks such as maintaining a job or attending school on a consistent basis. This is due to the fact that many of the symptoms triggered by sickle cell disease are very debilitating and cause very frequent pain episodes known as a “sickle cell crisis”. A sickle cell crisis, more often than not, requires a hospitalization usually lasting from three days to three months. Individuals with the severe form of sickle cell disease can have indefinite hospital stays with no discharge dates in sight. As you can imagine, during a three week hospital stay, the show must go on for most employers and educational institutions. The work must be completed. This simple but sad fact leaves hundreds of individuals in our area with sickle cell disease or parents of children with sickle cell disease unemployed, held back in school, or kicked out of college all together. The foundation attempts to intervene during these crossroads and provide limited financial assistance to avoid evictions or prevent utilities from being disconnected during hospitalizations and other emergency situations. The foundation also offers tutoring services for children in grade school and college. The Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc. also helps facilitate meetings with educational institutions to advocate for the students and educate the school on how they can help the student during these frequent hospitalizations.
For more information regarding sickle cell disease, contact the Madison County Case Manager Teresa Slade at 850-212-8908 or Madison@sicklcecellfoundation.org. To donate to the foundation contact the program at (850) 222-2355 or visit our website at www.sicklecellfoundation.org.
From left to right: Chris Wells, Velma Stephens, Teresa Slade, Cherlye Rahman, Angela Brown