The event hosted more than 225 guests of children who have been treated for sickle cell disease, a painful condition in which the blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells, some of which are sickle shaped and can decrease oxygen supply to different areas of the body. Sickle cell is a genetic condition with the only available cure being a bone marrow transplant. Not all patients are eligible for transplant and many do not have matched donors.
Patients and guests took part in a picnic, face painting, arts and crafts, bracelet making, snow cones and cotton candy followed by a day of sightseeing and adventure at the Zoo. Sponsors included iTN Worldwide, Kidz Medical Services, Knots of Hope and Amigos Near Foundation. Be the Match and One Blood were also among the attendants and each gave a presentation on the importance of becoming blood and bone marrow donors. The event helped to bring to light challenges faced by sickle cell patients and the importance of raising community awareness.
“We are grateful to all those who have graciously donated to the Sickle Cell Comprehensive Center to make this event possible, said Dr. Athena Pefkarou, Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist at Miami Children’s Hospital. “This annual reunion gives patients and families the ability to relate to one another and learn more about sickle cell in a fun and engaging setting, which is essential for the healing process,” she said.
For more information about the Sickle Cell Comprehensive Care Center at Miami Children’s, please visit www.mch.com.