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  1. “Still Standing” Documentary and its World Sickle Cell Day Premiere

    June 22, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Twitter

    Photo: Twitter



    You may remember that during Black History Month, we wrote a post recognizing a few people who've dedicated their lives to raising awareness for sickle cell disease. One of those people was Toyin Adesola, a native Nigerian and sickle cell warrior. At the time of that first post, her 2005 autobiography, "Still Standing" was being made into a film. And yesterday, appropriately World Sickle Cell Day, the documentary premiered both online and offline.

    An International Christian Film Festival nominee for Best Director, Most Creative, and Official Selection in the documentary category, as well as an Impact Awards Doc U.S. and International Film Festival, Indonesia winner, "Still Standing" tells of the struggles and accomplishments of Toyin, who was diagnosed with SCD when she was 6 years old. "Growing up, I had the regular pains. And those pains are not something you'd wish on your enemy. Sometimes, even morphine does not even hold that pain down," Toyin explains in the doc.

    She shares that she dealt with depression and fear growing up, as well, but also says that she saw herself doing so much more than simply existing, surviving. She knew she wanted to make a difference and credits going back to school and renewing her faith as major turning points in her life. "I'm driven by God ... my faith in God, and that's why I'm still here. Secondly, just the passion to be able to do things, to achieve things. To know that, yes ... I've been able to give my all," she says in the film.

    Watch the full documentary here (it's only 14 minutes and 30 seconds), and let Toyin tell you her story of strength and perseverance.


  2. Celebrating Black History Month and Recognizing Those Dedicated to Sickle Cell Awareness

    February 1, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Screenshot/Vimeo

    Photo: Screenshot/Vimeo, Toyin Adesola



    As we celebrate the start of Black History Month and honor the contributions and struggles of those who've come before, we'd also like to recognize a few people who are making history today in regard to sickle cell awareness. A disease that disproportionately affects African Americans, it is paramount that we celebrate advancements and those people who help to make them a reality.

    1. Memphis Grizzlies Player, Mike Conley
    According to The Commerical Appeal, Orion Federal Credit Union donated $15,000 to the Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center in Tennessee on Conley's behalf. A longtime advocate of sickle cell, Conley's passion for raising awareness of SCD stems from the fact that a few of his own family members are warriors, themselves.

    2. The Team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Adult Sickle Cell Clinic
    Last week, UAB also raised money -- $1 million, in fact -- to go toward its Adult Sickle Cell Clinic. Not an overnight success type situation, raising these funds took half a decade and a lot of perseverance. As reported by Alabama Newscenter, back in December of 2010, the North Central Alabama chapter of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America pledged $1 million to the clinic. Over the course of the next five years, many fundraising events were held and a sickle cell awareness vehicle tag was created and sold until, finally, the full amount was collected and presented to the clinic this past December.

    3. Toyin Adesola
    A native Nigerian and sickle cell warrior for more than 40 years, Adesola refused to succumb to sickle cell and has made a name for herself as a speaker, advocate, and author. In a recent interview with Konnect Africa, Adesola credits her faith in God with helping to keep her going. She also launched a nonprofit called the Sickle Cell Advocacy and Management Initiative to help reduce the occurrence of SCD in Nigeria and to "empower and improve the lives of people with sickle cell anaemia disorider to live healthy, positive, and impactful lives by educating, creating awareness, and providing support through various channels." Her 2005 autobiography, "Still Standing", is also being made into a film. Check out the trailer here.

    Stay tuned throughout this month, as we recognize even more of those who contribute to the awareness and advocacy of SCD.


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