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Sickle cell fighters gear up for Inspiring Dreams Walk-a-Thon

OW Staff | 4/3/2013, 5 p.m.

Despite public perception, sickle cell disease still exists and continues to devastate the lives of many individuals and their families. Education and public information are the most effective tools for increasing awareness of sickle cell disease. With television news and radio waves flooded with information on more popular health issues, sickle cell disease has been seemingly placed on the back burner. The fact is, this disease was identified in 1910 and yet many people still do not know enough about its origins and incidence rate.

In spite of all the challenges and severe lack of financial resources, a handful of physicians, nurses, researchers and community organizations have dedicated their professional careers to the fight against sickle cell disease. The dedication and commitment of these few individuals have brought new hopes for a cure and quality of life to those affected by this disease. Persons who were once given only a few short years to live, can now look forward to a fulfilling life and hopes of one day finding a cure.

Founded in 1957 as the Sickle Cell Disease Research Foundation (SCDRF) four African American physicians, who early in their medical practice were often bombarded with questions about sickle cell disease, created what is now the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California (SCDFC).

The issue of sickle cell disease is everpresent in communities across the country. While the SCDFC primarily services greater Los Angeles and its outlying areas, the organization is committed to educating and increasing awareness throughout the state. Requests for services throughout California have elevated the organization from a community-based operation to a statewide agency, committed to meeting the needs of each community.

The organization has recently opened registration for its third annual 5-K Inspiring Dreams Walk-a-Thon fundraiser. The proceeds from the event go to Camp Crescent Moon Summer Camp for Children with Sickle Cell Disease, the nation's first and oldest summer camp for children with sickle cell disease. The camp was founded in 1967 to serve children who were excluded from traditional camping opportunities. Each year 100-135 children and youth with sickle cell disease are able to participate in an out-of-doors, overnight camping experience. The next session of camp is scheduled for the week of July 14-20, 2013, at the Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades.

Interested individuals should register by May 1 to guarantee receipt of an official walk bracelet and souvenir walker bib. The cost is $25 per walker (13+); $20 per team walker; $10 per child (3-12); and children under 2 years old walk for free. The individual walker fundraising goal is $100 minimum (official walk-a-thon T-shirt provided to walkers who raise at least $100).

The walk will be held at Los Angeles Southwest College, 1600 W. Imperial Hwy. beginning at 9:30 a.m. on June 1, 2013.

For more information on the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California visit the website at www.scdfc.org.

For more information on Camp Crescent Moon, visit www.campcrescentmoon.org.