Advocacy group hosts walk-a-thon to raise Sickle Cell awareness

There will be a sickle cell walk-a-thon this weekend at York College.
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Naeisha Rose

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month and the Queens Sickle Cell Advocacy Network was planning to hold a walk-a-thon Saturday to bring the issue to the forefront.

Registration will start at 8 a.m. for 18th annual walk-a-thon.

The walk itself will start at 10 a.m. at the 160th Street E-train stop between Liberty and Archer avenues near York College and will end at Roy Wilkins Park at Merrick Blvd., according to QSCAN.

Preregistration for the event costs $25, but those who sign up on the day of the event must register for $30.

QSCAN wants to raise money to bring awareness of the disease, educate individuals and families about the disease and to support research and clinical trials to cure the disease.

The honored guest of the event is Patrice Hamilton, the Miss New York champion of 2018.

The honored speaker of the day will be Dr. Tania Small, the vice president of Global Medical Oncology, who has experience with clinical studies on the disease.

Some of the other notable attendees and grand marshals include U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), state Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens), Assemblyman Clyde Vanel (D-Queens Village) and City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans).

Individuals with the inherited blood disorder have abnormal hemoglobin, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Their cells are shaped like a sickle and are not capable of carrying hemoglobin, which is necessary for oxygen to circulate in the lung and tissues of the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In the 1970s, an estimated 90,000 to 100,000 Americans with sickle cell disease did not make it past their 20th birthday because it was not caught early, according to the CDC.

One in 365 blacks is born with SCD. For Hispanic Americans, the ratio is one in 16,300. One in 13 blacks carry the trait for the disease, according to the CDC.

Research and medical intervention has resulted in Americans being diagnosed early and living beyond their 40th to 60th birthdays.

Sickle Cell can result in chronic pain, strokes, susceptibility to organ failure and acute chest syndrome, and lack of oxygen in the lungs, according to the NHLBI.

To mitigate the problems that come with the disease individuals can take Hydroxyurea, an oral medication for children and adults, the institute said.

Other elected officials who will attend the event include state Sens. James Sanders Jr. (D-Far Rockaway), state Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) and Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans).

“QSCAN is doing great work here in southeast Queens to raise awareness of sickle cell disease and the lives of those who live with it,” said Comrie. “I am proud to support them in their mission to bring help and guidance to those with sickle cell disease while fighting for its eradication.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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