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MCSCI’s 2015 Annual Campaign is Underway

Throughout 2014, we have been saying that “There is hope on the horizon for Sickle Cell.” We say this because there are many promising developments that will one day improve life for those affected by SCD. Yet, the fact is that the hope is still out there on the horizon. There still is no widely available cure and treatment therapies still are not standardized. This means that the pain of SCD has not stopped. It also means that the challenges continue to mount for the hundreds of families that we serve on an annual basis. Lastly, it means that there is a need for you to help us make a difference in their lives by supporting our 2015 Annual Campaign.

Your donation to our annual campaign can help Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative leverage its resources so that we can provide the type of support that is needed to help our clients better manage the trials in their lives. Your donation will help make it possible for us to offer more social service assistance, counseling, transportation assistance, support group activities and emergency financial assistance to those who have needs greater than those of most people.

Our 2015 annual campaign offers you the chance to join with us in our efforts to stop some of the pain of Sickle Cell. Please… help us bring more quality to the lives of hundreds of patients and their families by donating today.

Thank You!

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Thanks Dr. Pierce

Raymond Pierce

The Board of Directors, the staff and the clients of MCSCI are saddened by the passing of the second of our two co-founders, Dr. Raymond O. Pierce.  Dr. Pierce passed away on October 18, 2014 and is now reunited in the afterlife with our other co-founder Rev. Boniface Hardin who passed away on March 24, 2012.  Reverend Boniface started Martin Center in 1969 to combat racism in Indianapolis.  A short time later, Dr. Pierce convinced Boniface to use the Center to combat the ravaging effects of Sickle Cell Disease.  In our opinion, Dr. Pierce will always be considered as Indiana’s original Sickle Cell Warrior for, at the time, there was no one else who worked so hard to bring attention and awareness to the disease.  Fortunately, Father Hardin immediately understood the need to provide services to people affected by Sickle Cell and he agreed to allow the Center to add the disease to its mission.

Dr. Pierce was a highly accomplished orthopedic surgeon.  He spent many years as a professor of orthopedics at IU Medical School and he served as Chief of Orthopedics at Wishard Hospital (now Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital) in Indianapolis for decades. Dr. Pierce was also a widely acclaimed expert in trauma care. He participated in and held leadership roles in many civic organizations throughout his career.  Yet, no matter how busy he was, Dr. Pierce never gave up on Martin Center.  He served as Chief Medical Officer for three decades and also served on the Board of Directors for four decades.  In fact, the MCSCI Board of Directors even declared him to be an Honorary Life Member at its most recent annual meeting.

As with all great individuals, there are many things that can be said about Dr. Raymond Pierce.  Among his most endearing qualities, however, was his genuine caring and nurturing spirit.  Dr. Pierce was just a really nice man who cared deeply for many, many people.  He was very easy to talk to and it always seemed that he was just there to ensure that you could overcome whatever issue you were facing.  He cared deeply for MCSCI’s clients and he gave generously of his time and treasure to ensure that MCSCI could continue serving them.

MCSCI would like to thank Dr. Raymond O. Pierce for his guidance, his leadership, his sacrifice and his devotion to our mission of aiding and enhancing the lives of those affected by Sickle Cell and other associated disorders. Throughout MCSCI’s entire existence, the agency has been guided, supported and encouraged by this wonderful man who shared himself so freely with his community. He and his wonderful spirit of service and compassion will be missed enormously.

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Awareness Without Action = Status Quo

As another Sickle Cell Awareness Month dawns, we are encouraged to see that there is so much hope on the horizon for SCD. There are numerous advances being made on multiple levels, from new research to new medications to strengthening bonds within the community itself. These are all signs that things are changing for the better and they are reason to believe that things will improve for those living with Sickle Cell.


Yet, the many advances that are being made are not enough for us to declare victory in the war on Sickle Cell. In order to be able to declare victory, we need to eradicate Sickle Cell from the planet. If we can’t eradicate Sickle Cell from the planet, we need to have much broader access to bone marrow transplants to cure those who currently cannot qualify as candidates for the procedure. If we can’t have broader access to bone marrow transplants, we need to have better medicines that either drastically reduce crisis occurrence rates or drastically minimize crisis durations. If we can’t have better medicines, we need to have better, more highly trained doctors and nurses who can deliver improved treatments for those in crisis and provide better health management techniques to minimize Sickle Cell complications.


While we are working on making those things become reality, we also need to work on ways to make society become more sensitive to the plights of those affected. We need to encourage governments, philanthropic organizations and private businesses to stop acting as if Sickle Cell does not exist. We need to find ways to make them as responsive and supportive of Sickle Cell as they are of other conditions that affect fewer people. We need for them to understand the many dilemmas of living with Sickle Cell like wanting to go to school but not being able to because the pain is too great. Like wanting to participate in athletics but having to do so with limits in order to avoid the onset of a crisis. Like wanting to work but not being able to because working negatively impacts access to Social Security Income and Medicaid insurance, assistance that might be needed when Sickle Cell keeps you from regular attendance and you get fired. These are just a few examples of Sickle Cell dilemmas. There are many others.


Awareness is an important tool but it is not enough to make a difference. For instance, those who have Sickle Cell are aware that they have it. Their awareness doesn’t cure them. It doesn’t take the pain away. And it certainly doesn’t help them get through their days any easier. Awareness must be accompanied by action because action is what makes things change. Let’s keep spreading awareness but let’s not stop there. Let’s advocate and lobby for more attention, more support, more funding and more results. Let’s work to get Congress to reauthorize funding for the National Sickle Cell Demonstration Program. Let’s work to get the foundations of the world to fund more research and more supportive services for those who live with Sickle Cell. Let’s work to get the media to pay more attention and help spread awareness. Let’s work to get private corporations to find creative ways to provide employment opportunities for people with Sickle Cell. Let’s work to get our churches and social organizations to help raise funds that can be used to help assist the many thousands of people who did not ask to live with this cruel condition. Let’s work to get more Sickle Cell patients engaged in this fight that is focused on helping them.


This Sickle Cell Awareness Month can be more special than any other. Let’s work to make sure that it is. We must do so because, without work, the status quo will remain unchanged!


Walk Celebrity Poster_v3

Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative is extremely grateful for the support of these two dynamic ladies, Lori Wilson of WISH-TV and Maggie A. Lewis, President of the Indianapolis Marion County City-County Council. Lori and Maggie have joined the chain to stop the pain of Sickle Cell. You should, too! Register to walk now at https://secure.getmeregistered.com/get_information.php?event_id=10349

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It’s Super Zumba Time!

Martin Center Zumba Flyer2Two well-known Zumba instructors are donating their services to create an event called “Super Zumba!” Re’Nita O’Bannon and Dee Dee Hill will together lead two large Zumba sessions on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at Barnes United Methodist Church located at 900 W. 30th Street in Indianapolis. The classes are open to women and men. The licensed Zumba instructors will donate all proceeds to Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative, an agency that provides supportive services to individuals and families affected by Sickle Cell Disease.

“We know that Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative is working hard to make a real difference for people with Sickle Cell and we wanted to do something special to help them in their work,” said Re’Nita O’Bannon. O’Bannon’s partner in the event, Dee Dee Hill, who is motivated because her husband, Michael, has Sickle Cell said, “I know first-hand how Sickle Cell Disease affects the entire family. This is our way of informing people about the disease and encouraging them to support an agency that is doing great work in our community. I’m happy to partner with Re’Nita to make this happen.”

The Super Zumba event to raise funds for the Martin Center is the first of its kind, said Gary A. Gibson, President and CEO at Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative. “We are absolutely amazed at the teamwork that went into planning this event and we hope that everyone who likes Zumba will come out and join in the fun for a really good cause,” he said. “You don’t have to know anyone with Sickle Cell to contribute. All you have to do is like Zumba!” he added.

The idea for Super Zumba came from Sabae Martin and Annette Johnson, two of the volunteers that are working on the planning of Martin Center’s 18th Annual Sickle Cell 5K Walk/Run on June 28, 2014 at Riverside Park. “We were looking for an idea to help generate excitement for the walk and Zumba just seemed to be the perfect way to do that,” Martin said.

For more information about Super Zumba and Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative, please visit http://www.themartincenter.org or call at 317-927-5158.

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18th Annual Sickle Cell 5K Walk/Run Grand Marshall Announced


Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative (MCSCI) is pleased to announce that WISH-TV anchor, Lori Wilson, will serve as the Grand Marshall of the 18th Annual Sickle Cell 5K Walk/Run. This well-known Indianapolis event will take place on June 28, 2014 at Riverside Park.

Lori Wilson_web 2
Lori WIlson

Although originally from Indianapolis, Lori spent 7 ½ years at WCAU in Philadelphia, where she held a number of positions including Morning News Anchor, General Assignment Reporter, and Host of the 10! Show, a daily lifestyle and entertainment show. While at WCAU, Lori reported live from the 2nd Inauguration of President Barack Obama, anchored coverage of Hurricane Sandy as the storm battered the East Coast, and field anchored everything from station coverage of NBC’s Education Nation, to the Phillies season home opener. In her role as co-host of the 10! Show, Lori interviewed countless celebrities including Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gerard Butler, Kevin Hart, Kerry Washington and more. She also reported live from Rome for the Premiere of Angels and Demons and covered Harry Potter from London.

In every city she has worked, Lori has been passionate about giving back to the community. She has been a staunch supporter of the United Way’s Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow program, the Uniquely You Summit, the Associated Services for the Blind, and the Urban League of Philadelphia. Lori is still a board member for IDEA performing Arts Center in Camden and the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC). Also, at least twice a week, you’ll find her in church.

MCSCI is honored that Lori has agreed to help spread Sickle Cell awareness through her participation in our 18th Sickle Cell Walk/Run event. As Grand Marshall, Lori’s responsibilities will nclude making general announcements to those in attendance, serving as the starter for the Walk/Run, handing out awards at the end…and lots and lots of smiling!

This annual event raises funds to support the many services that MCSCI offers its clients. In this day of downward funding trends, the success of this event will be crucial to keeping MCSCI in position to continue offering services that are designed to aid and enhance the lives of those affected by Sickle Cell and associated disorders.

We hope that you will walk, run, volunteer, donate what you can to help make this annual event more successful than ever!

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Prizes for Top Finishers at the 18th Annual Sickle Cell Walk/Run


Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative has announced that it will hold the 18th Annual Sickle Cell Walk/Run on June 28, 2014 at Riverside Park in Indianaolis, Indiana. For the first time in the history of the event,This year’s event, cash prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in each category per the schedule below.

Female Runners – 1st place -$100.00
Female Runners – 2nd place – $50.00
Female Runners – 3rd place – $25.00

Female Walkers – 1st place – $100.00
Female Walkers – 2nd place – $50.00
Female Walkers – 3rd place – $25.00

Male Runners – 1st place – $100.00
Male Runners – 2nd place – $50.00
Male Runners – 3rd place – $25.00

Male Walkers – 1st place – $100.00
Male Walkers – 2nd place – $50.00
Male Walkers – 3rd place – $25.00

Proceeds from annual walk will support MCSCI’s ability to address some of the health and social needs caused by Sickle Cell Disease. We do this by providing quality programs and services to Sickle Cell clients and their families. These services include a support group, direct emergency financial assistance, transportation assistance, a food pantry and general client education and follow-up services. We also promote education and awareness in our community by participating in health fairs and by providing community presentations, school presentations, our informative website and social media. Getting the word out about SCD is crucial to eradicate it once and for all but it does not stop the pain for those who already have it!

Last year, over 300 participants helped to make the event highly successful and all were very impressed with the organization of the event and the fellowship that it fostered. The sponsors involved with last year’s event were able to share in the success and they received much gratitude for doing so. This year, the annual Sickle Cell 5K Walk/Run will continue to build upon its unique legacy and you have the opportunity to join us. Your participation will not only help support MCSCI’s mission, it will also show the community that you care deeply about its well-being.