CHICAGO, June 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- On July 20, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois (SCDAI) (www.sicklecelldisease-illinois.org) invites friends, family and supporters to participate in the 45th Annual 8K Walk/Jog/Bike-A-Thon, a yearly fundraising event that brings awareness to those living with sickle cell disease. The family-friendly race will take place at Chicago's beautiful Lakefront at 39th Street, rain or shine, and has a fundraising goal of $100,000.
This year proves to be the most exciting and biggest year to date, as NBA New York Knicks player Billy Garrett Jr., the league's first player living with sickle cell disease, will appear at the event, mixing and mingling with attendees. A native of Chicago, Garrett, who was diagnosed with sickle cell disease as a newborn, serves as an inspiration to many, as the disease can present challenges for physical activity for more than 4,000 Illinois residents living with the disease and more than 100,000 across the United States. For those looking to engage in healthy competition, there is a 5K timed run, where racers will compete for the best time. Participants can also look forward to games, music and displays from top sponsors, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc., LaRabida Children's Hospital, Uchicago Medicine Comer Children's and NextLevel Health, before embarking on a 8K walk along the lakefront.
"I'm excited to come home and support SCDAI in this great endeavor," said Garrett. "I have always been active in sports and over the years, learned the limitations and accommodations my body needs in order for me to triumph over sickle cell. I hope to share my story with sickle cell warriors everywhere and show that you can achieve your dreams and goals by living a healthy lifestyle and having a positive mindset."
Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders, where the red blood cells are C-shaped like a sickle, impeding the body's ability to carry adequate oxygen. When these cells travel through smaller blood vessels, they get stuck and block blood flow, causing extreme pain and other complications, including frequent infections, stroke, organ damage, vision problems, delayed growth and even death. As more research and developments for expanded treatment and a cure arise, the walk is an important awareness event for SCDAI, serving as largest fundraiser of the year. SCDAI depends on the support of sponsors and donations to continue its primary mission since 1971: to enhance the quality of life for people with sickle cell disease and their families and to serve as an advocate for improved healthcare and services by educating and informing the community through outreach programs.
"The 45th Annual 8K Walk/Jog/Bike-A-Thon greatly benefits the organization's efforts to educate the community and support warriors everywhere. As the mother of a sickle cell warrior, I am personally motivated to help everyone affected by this disease," said TaLana Hughes, Executive Director of SCDAI. "Because sickle cell disease is often exacerbated by cold weather, we are excited to host an event that gets warriors and their supporters outside and having fun in the sun, being active and enjoying life, just like everyone else. We encourage all Chicago residents and the surrounding areas to get involved by attending, donating and sponsoring a great cause."
The SCDAI 45th Annual 8K Walk/Jog/Bike-A-Thon takes place on Saturday, July 20, 2019 at Chicago's Lakefront and 39th Street. Sign ups are now open at the organization's website. Registration begins at 8am and the race begins at 9am. To register your team, donate or sponsor the event, please visit www.sicklecelldisease-illinois.org.
Founded in 1971, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois is a 501©3 organization and is a part of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA), a 57 member community-based membership organization, in over 300 communities nationwide and Canada. The organization serves more than 4,000 Illinois residents living with sickle cell disease. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life for people with sickle cell disease and their families and to serve as an advocate for improved healthcare and services by educating and informing the community through outreach programs. For more information, please visit www.sicklecelldisease-illinois.org.
SOURCE Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois