The sixth annual Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California Walk-a-Thon will be held this Saturday at Los Angeles Southwest College. The purpose of the event is to raise money to send children affected by sickle-cell disease to Camp Crescent Moon, which is a summer camp that meets the children’s needs.

Children affected by sickle-cell cannot attend a number of summer camps that typical children can because the activities are not tailored to their health needs. Also, a number of summer camps are in mountainous areas, where the higher elevation can be an issue.

While Crescent Moon is geared toward these children’s specific needs, it still has many of the same activities as a typical summer camp.

“They play tag football and basketball, arts and crafts,” said Mary Davis, president/CEO of the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California. “They have a special program about sickle-cell disease. They sing and dance, and they do everything else, but just at a lower level, and at a little slower pace.”

The camp is managed by a medical team of sickle cell specialists from Kaiser Permanente, and several of the other hospitals in the area.

One in every 400 African Americans has sickle cell anemia. Raising awareness of the disease has become increasingly difficult, which means that funding is hard to come by, and even worse, finding African American blood donors has become a major issue. Contrary to belief, donating blood is not painful at all, and it only takes a few minutes. There are many children who are in serious pain. A prick that you will feel for only a split second could take their pain away.