The Sickle Cell Foundation (SCF), Inc. is pleased to announce its expansion into Madison County. They offer services to clients with sickle cell disease and trait. The Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc. was founded in February of 1980 and is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization. The foundation is a part of 16 chapters under the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Florida. The area covered locally by the foundation includes Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison and Taylor counties. The SCF will conduct monthly support group meetings in Madison. The meetings are scheduled for the last Monday of each month at the Madison County Public Library, located at 378 NW College Loop, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The foundation will also conduct monthly community awareness events throughout Madison County.
The program attempts to meet two major needs concerning sickle cell disease, the first of which is education and outreach. One of the foundation’s chief goals is to educate the community and its members about what sickle cell disease is and how it affects individuals and families suffering from the diagnosis. The program also seeks to educate the citizens living in the area about the differences between sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease and the great importance of knowing whether individuals or the person they decide to have children with have the sickle cell trait or sickle disease.
The second goal of the foundation is to provide direct assistance to individuals and families affected by sickle cell disease when they are in the midst of a crisis. There are many individuals who are born with sickle cell disease that struggle with basic daily life tasks such as maintaining a job or attending school on a consistent basis. This is due to the fact that many of the symptoms triggered by sickle cell disease are very debilitating and cause very frequent pain episodes known as a “sickle cell crisis.”
A sickle cell crisis, more often than not, requires hospitalization usually lasting anywhere from three days to three months. Individuals with the severe form of sickle cell disease can have indefinite hospital stays with no discharge dates in sight. As you can imagine, during a three-week hospital stay, the show must go on for most employers and educational institutions. The work must be completed. This simple but sad fact leaves many individuals in the Madison area with sickle cell disease or parents of children with sickle cell disease unemployed, held back in school or kicked out of college altogether. The foundation attempts to intervene during these crossroads and provide limited financial assistance to avoid evictions or prevent utilities from being disconnected during hospitalizations and other emergency situations. The foundation also offers tutoring services for children in grade school and college. The SCF also helps facilitate meetings with educational institutions to advocate for students and educate the school on how they can help students during these frequent hospitalizations.
The SCF is available to participate in community events. The foundation is available for educational sickle cell presentations and booth setups at local events. They also offer free sickle trait testing; if anyone is interested in partnering with SCF, please contact the program’s office.
For more information regarding sickle cell disease, contact the Madison County Case Manager Teresa Slade at (850) 212-8908 or Madison@sicklcecellfoundation.org. To donate to the foundation, contact the program at (850) 222-2355 or visit their website at www.sicklecellfoundation.org.