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Sickle Cell Statehouse Day

Sickle Cell Statehouse Day is just over 2 weeks away on Jan. 30th. We’re calling all supporters of Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative to come out & help raise awareness! Transportation is available, but seating is limited. Contact Karen Gant-Johnson at kgjohnson@themartincenter.org to reserve your seat today. Check out the press release below:

Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative Plans “Sickle Cell Statehouse Day” Event to raise awareness and support for Sickle Cell Disease.

Indianapolis; January 14, 2013: Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative (”MCSCI”) has announced that it will be holding a “Sickle Cell Statehouse Day” on January 30, 2013. This event, the first of its kind in Indiana history, will be held from 9:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. in the Indiana Statehouse. The purpose of the event is to raise legislators’ awareness of the plight of the more than 1,000 Indiana citizens who suffer from Sickle Cell Disease (“SCD”). “Many people have heard of SCD, but they don’t really understand its impact on those who have it. In addition to its intense pain, the disease causes numerous other problems that complicate the lives of patients and their families. Many of these problems don’t have easy solutions and our clients need more help than we can currently provide,” said Gary A. Gibson, MCSCI’s President and CEO.

SCD is one of the most common genetically transmitted diseases on Earth. Estimates indicate that there are as many as 2,000,000 people worldwide and approximately 100,000 in the United States who suffer from it. It occurs most frequently in people who live in or have descended from parts of the Earth’s tropical and sub-tropical regions where malaria is or has been present. It is carried mainly by people with origins in Africa, South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Although SCD is most commonly found in people of color, it also affects a small percentage of Caucasians.

MCSCI currently works with the Indiana State Department of Health to provide follow-up educational services to families whose newborns have been identified as having Sickle Cell Trait. “Our work with ISDH is very important and they are a good partner,” Gibson said. “However, the resources currently available through the state and ISDH are very limited. We would like to see them have more tools at their disposal so that additional services can be provided to those with SCD,” he added. According to Gibson, these services should include psycho-social counseling, occupational assistance and medical provider education.

The “Sickle Cell Statehouse Day” event will include an information table staffed with MCSCI staff members, SCD patients and volunteers. “We are hoping to have the opportunity to talk directly with several Indiana lawmakers about SCD and the issues that its patients are fighting. We hope that by bringing these issues to the attention of our legislators, we will be able to encourage them to do what they can to help improve the quality of life of those struggling with the disease,” said Ace Ramirez, MCSCI’s Sickle Cell Educator.

Founded in 1969 by the late Reverend Boniface Hardin, O.S.B., and Dr. Raymond Pierce, Martin Center was dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and St. Martin de Porres, for the purpose of combating oppression, particularly racism. For over forty years, Martin Center has sought to provide a “holistic approach” to clients battling the effects of SCD. Martin Center assumed the name Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative in September 2012 in order to have its name more directly reflect its mission.

For more details about Martin Center, Inc., please visit http://www.themartincenter.org.

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