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  1. T-Boz Releases New Memoir Just in Time for Sickle Cell Awareness Month

    September 19, 2017 by Andrea

    a sick life book cover

    "A Sick Life: TLC 'n Me: Stories from On and Off the Stage", the new memoir from Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, was released on September 12 -- appropriately, right in the heart of Sickle Cell Awareness Month. More than a year in the making, this book details T-Boz's experiences of coping with sickle cell, while simultaneously making a living as a member of the highest-selling girl group.

    In an exclusive interview with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, T-Boz revealed the significance of her memoir's title. "It's a strong word, 'a sick life,' 'cause I've had it all," she said. "I was told I would never live past 30; I would be disabled my whole life and never have kids." Obviously, she beat every odd stacked against her and then some: She's now 47 years old, she birthed a child at age 30, and she managed a hectic schedule and traveled the world as a member of TLC. Surmounting those obstacles didn't come without setbacks, however.

    According to People magazine, which landed the rights to publish excerpts of the memoir in their latest issue, T-Boz told them that after giving birth to her daughter Chase, her body began to shut down and she was in a coma for three days. “Often, it’s hard to breathe or walk,” the magazine reports T-Boz wrote in her memoir. “Some days I wake up consumed by pain. It’s like knives stabbing me over and over again in my joints. Chase gave me a reason to keep pushing through.”

    "A Sick Life" is on sale now, and you can even get a signed copy of the book by clicking here.

  2. “Motown 25” and Its Contribution to Sickle Cell Awareness

    September 11, 2017 by Andrea
    motown 25


    Here's a sickle cell awareness fact you may not have known: "Motown 25" -- that epic night back in 1983 of A-list performances from Michael Jackson, the Temptations, The Supremes, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, and more -- was not only a celebration of the label's quarter century of success, but also a fundraising event for sickle cell. SCD was close to the Motown family, as one of their own (Temptations member Paul Williams) battled the disease, along with depression, and unfortunately, ended his own life just ten years prior.

    One man, Michael Soyannwo, and his team are bringing this little-known fact to life in a new documentary called "The Night Motown Sang for Sickle Cell Anaemia," due to drop next Black History Month. According to Soyannwo, most people don't realize Motown 25 was a benefit concert for sickle cell because "the agenda changed the minute Michael Jackson did the Moonwalk." After that, that's all anyone could talk about and the issue of SCD got lost once again.  

    The doc, being filmed by the UK-based company Rockindale Productions, includes interviews with entertainment insiders, sickle cell experts, and journalists and tackles the unfortunate truth that "conditions that are suffered by people of color, always, always, are way, way down [on the list of importance]," says journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in one clip. 

    Watch the full trailer below:

  3. Performance Aims to Bring Sickle Cell Awareness to the Stage

    August 28, 2017 by Andrea
    tough blood performance

    Photo: Twitter/@QuietVoice

    A London-based performance group is using entertainment as a way to increase visibility of SCD for Sickle Cell Awareness Month with a show called "Tough Blood." Infusing "street dance, projection, and sound design," this multimedia program will highlight real stories of real warriors ages 16 through 24 of Caribbean descent to encourage audience members to reflect on the disease and all who are affected by it in some way.

    "Drawing on the history of black resistance and scientific research of the disease, the piece brings personal insight and seeks to open up questions around genealogy and perceptions of Sickle Cell Anemia," states a portion of the production's description on Eventbrite.

    If you live in or around the London metro area, consider adding this event to your Sickle Cell Awareness Month agenda. The show will be held on September 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Copeland Gallery in Peckham, and all funds from ticket sales will be donated to the Sickle Cell Society.

    For the latest details, be sure to follow Tough Blood on Twitter.

  4. 4 Fundraisers to Support In Preparation for Sickle Cell Awareness Month

    August 15, 2017 by Andrea



    [*NOTE: Each of these fundraisers is hosted on Booster.com (a division of Custom Ink), but all funds will go to the sickle cell group that is organizing the fundraiser. Also, in case you're wondering, the models seen in the mockups are Booster.com's default -- the site does not currently offer models of any other skin tone.]

    September is less than three weeks away, and that means National Sickle Cell Awareness Month is just around the bend. Since 1983, when September was first officially recognized as the month to promote sickle cell advocacy, organizations and individuals across the country have concentrated their efforts through various campaigns. 

    Some groups are getting a jump on their outreach this year by providing apparel for every warrior and supporter to wear next month as part of their own endeavors to educate their communities about this oft-forgotten disorder. Here are four fundraisers to support now -- you'll not only get some new threads that show your support for the cause, but you'll also be helping to fund sickle cell awareness and research projects. 

    1) "Diagnosis is Not Destiny" hoodie
    This benefits Supporting Our Sicklers (S.O.S.) Parent and Guardian Support Group, which "is committed to advocating for, serving, and providing Sickle Cell Disease education to parents and guardians of children with all types of Sickle Cell while supporting research for a cure and improving awareness in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas." Hoodies are only $35, but hurry -- there's just one day left to order. 

    2) "Proud Supporter For a Cure" tee
    This campaign only has 3 hours left (and sadly, no supporters -- yet). Back this nonprofit -- its "mission is to broaden public awareness about Sickle Cell Anemia Disease and the need for better health services" -- before time runs out. One tee is only $20. 

    3) "Hustle Over Pain" tee
    No Pain In the Playroom's goal? To travel to Alabama and speak about sickle cell awareness and advocacy. "This campaign is to empower people with Sickle Cell Anemia and other [sufferers] of pain, and support our organization to continue to spread sickle cell awareness across the nation." Help them fulfill their purpose, while giving back to the community yourself, for just $20. 

    4) "Sickle Cell Strong" Short-Sleeved Tee or "Warrior" Long-Sleeved Tee
    Hosting informational events and the cost of purchasing materials for those events can get overwhelming, especially for small operations. Give back by giving to The Crescent Cell, an organization that collects and shares stories of warriors, as well as hosts events that educate communities about sickle cell disease. 

    Have you contributed to one of the campaigns above? Tell us why in the comments below!

  5. Giving Blood Helps: 4 Sickle Cell Warriors Share Their Stories

    September 15, 2016 by Andrea

    We all know how important it is to donate blood for sickle cell patients, but we don't always know the actual impact our donations have on the recipients' lives. In honor of donors, soon-to-be-donors, and warriors everywhere this Sickle Cell Awareness Month, we'd like to highlight a few stories from those whose lives have been made better through blood donation.

    1) Taytiana's Story

    2) Marquita's Story

    3) Stacey's Story

    4) Joshua's Story

    Do you have an experience to share about how blood donation has touched your life -- whether a donor or warrior? Tell us in the comments below!

  6. 5 Social Media Tools to Turn Your Sickle Cell Awareness Month Campaigns Up a Notch

    September 7, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    As an advocate for sickle cell awareness, you already know the importance of being on social media. But, sending out a random tweet, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat post every now and then isn't going to help grow your follower count, and thus, spread your message. To help you determine the best tools for your chosen platform, we've rounded up a few of our favorites below:

    1) Buffer
    This easy-to-use website allows you to schedule posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook in advance, freeing you up to actually interact with your followers, as well as devote more time to researching current news about sickle cell research. Buffer also provides analytics, so that you can easily see what types of posts perform the best.

    2) Later
    Formerly known as Latergramme, this website and phone app also lets you schedule posts ahead of time -- but only for Instagram. If you're mode of raising awareness centers primarily on visual content, this is a must-have.

    3) Mention
    Sure, you could continue to search Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for mentions of your name/nonprofit/company, but Mention makes this process so much easier. Simply sign-up and this tool will begin monitoring your name and will send you an e-mail round-up of online mentions each day. Knowing what others are saying about you -- good or bad -- gives you a chance to respond, and if necessary, rethink your messaging.

    4) Buzzsumo
    With this tool, you can set up alerts to keep you aware and up-to-date on the latest SCD news. You can then share this news with your audience, furthering more awareness. News can come in the form of infographics, articles, videos, and more.

    5) Quotes Cover
    Ever wonder how other people create those gorgeous quote pictures? Well, now you, too, can transform your favorite motivational quotes (perfect for #MondayMotivation), into beautiful, shareable content. If you're looking for easy ways to also edit photos and create collages, check out PicMonkey and Canva.

    Now that you're armed with these new tools, you can really take your sickle cell awareness to the next level.

  7. 4 Ways to Prepare for Sickle Cell Awareness Month

    August 29, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: stocksnap.io

    Photo: stocksnap.io

    It's about that time again: September, just two days from now, is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. While we, along with a host of others, are committed to raising awareness 365 days of the year, Sickle Cell Awareness Month is a much-needed opportunity to heighten awareness among the general public and raise funds for ongoing research.

    Get involved this month -- and beyond -- with these ideas:

    Make an effort to seek out information and resources relating to sickle cell. You can start here, with Xickle's blog. Other options include, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA), the CDC, and the American Sickle Cell Anemia Association (ASCAA).

    If you're able, contribute money to official programs that fund research initiatives in the study of SCD. In the United States, you can donate to the SCDAA, the ASCAA, the William E. Proudford Sickle Cell Fund, among others. In the U.K., the Sickle Cell Society is one organization that accepts donations. Check for the appropriate place to send donations where you live. Money isn't the only thing you can donate. Time and blood are also very necessary. Volunteer with local sickle cell outreach projects; or, give blood at the American Red Cross -- and be sure to designate your donation to a sickle cell warrior.

    Once you've increased your own knowledge about sickle cell, don't keep it all to yourself. Share it with family and friends, post links to educational articles on social media, or partner with local churches, schools, and businesses to hold seminars and teach others in your community.

    If you're a sickle cell warrior yourself, you'll be able to help another learn coping skills and generally be an excellent support system. Since you'll understand what your mentee is going through, you can share stories of your own journey and how you've made it this far. Even if you don't have sickle cell, you can still mentor someone. If your mentee is a warrior, consider helping him or her plan for the future -- give assistance on college and scholarship applications, help with homework, or just take him or her on fun outings. Or, advise your mentee (warrior or not) on the various ways they can get involved in community advocacy.

    Got any more ideas on raising awareness in September? Share them in the comments below!

  8. How the Sickle Cell Community is Going Hard for Sickle Cell Awareness Month

    September 7, 2015 by Andrea

    It's week two of Sickle Cell Awareness Month and the community is on fire with activities and campaigns to bring education and understanding of SCD to the masses. Here's how some people are making the most of September:

    Tweet us pictures of you raising awareness this month and we'll retweet them!

  9. An Innovative Take on Raising Awareness for Sickle Cell

    August 24, 2015 by Andrea

    CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Neil Moralee

    We're always scouring the web for innovative ways others choose to raise awareness for sickle cell, especially with the start of Sickle Cell Awareness Month a little more than a week away. Some things we've seen: 

    1. Booster campaigns selling T-shirts to raise money for sickle cell awareness.

    2. Celebrity bowling challenges -- the K.I.S. Foundation is hosting it's 12 annual event next month. 

    3. Numerous sickle cell walks/runs like this one, hosted by the Greater Boston Sickle Cell Disease Association.

    And recently, we ran across this article from the Fox affiliate in Birmingham, Alabama. More than 100 bikers gathered this weekend (August 22, 2015) to embark on a 40-mile ride to raise money for sickle cell warriors. The ultimate goal of these sickle cell supporters? A little something different: to create a sickle cell specialty license plate that will serve to also raise awareness and research funding for SCD.

    Check out the full article: Bikers raise money for Sickle Cell research with 40-mile ride

  10. Dear SCD Community: We’ve Got Much Work to Do

    September 11, 2014 by Andrea

    It’s been more than 100 years since the discovery of sickle cell disease; however, it is still one of the most under-supported and under-researched diseases. Here's how you can help change that.

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