Workshops, Poster Child Program, Dr. Charles Drew Blood Drive Will Be Held in New Jersey to Commemorate World Sickle Cell Disease Day

Jun 01, 2010, 11:15 ET from Embrace Kids Foundation from ,Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey (SCANJ)

NEWARK, N.J., June 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey (SCANJ) and Embrace Kids Foundation will team up to host Sickle Cellabration on Saturday, June 19, 2010. Attendees at this free event can expect educational workshops on sickle cell disease for adults, activities for children and teens, informative exhibits, and a luncheon to announce the designated spokespersons for the New Jersey Sickle Cell Poster Child Program. In addition, the American Red Cross will also have a blood drive mobile on site.

Sickle Cellabration will take place from 8 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at The Pines Manor in Edison, New Jersey. Among the scheduled speakers are Dr. Alice Cohen, Director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Beth Savage RN, Pediatric Sickle Cell Division of Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and Ediomi Utuk, Founder and CEO of Converse 4 a Cure; a sickle cell awareness organization. Seating is limited, so please register with your RSVP by Friday, June 11. To register, log onto; or email; or call 973-482-9070.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited, potentially life-threatening blood disorder. Calling sickle cell disease "one of the world's foremost genetic diseases," the UN introduced a resolution in 2008 urging member states around the world to raise awareness of the disease on June 19 of each year. Sickle Cellabration is in answer to that call to mark the United Nations' World Sickle Cell Disease Day.

"The theme of this year's event in New Jersey, 'Passport to the World,' underscores the fact that the reach of sickle cell disease is truly global," said Mary Bentley LaMar, Founder and Executive Director of SCANJ. The genetic mutation that causes sickle cell disease originated in Africa and in the Indian/Arabian subcontinent in Asia as a defense against malaria, but as migration occurred, the disease spread as well. Today, sickle cell disease is most common in people whose families come from Africa, South or Central America (especially Panama), the Caribbean islands, Mediterranean countries (such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy), India, and Saudi Arabia.

Regardless of whether you can attend the Sickle Cellabration—everyone, especially minorities, is encouraged to donate blood during the Dr. Charles Drew Commemorative Blood Drive, which takes place from 9:00 am to 3:00 p.m. Blood transfusions are an important lifesaving component of care for people with sickle cell disease. And most people with the condition will need multiple transfusions throughout their lifetimes. Although sickle cell patients can receive blood transfusions from any donor with the same blood type, it is very likely that a donor from the same racial group will be a better match. A Dr. Charles Drew Blood Drive, named for the African-American medical trailblazer who developed the blood bank in 1940, reaches out to the minority community to address this need. To pre-register and reserve a time to donate go to

About the Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey (SCANJ). SCANJ is a nonprofit community based agency to assist the sickle cell community, especially adults, with non-medical needs, such as support groups, transition, education, access to research, resource sharing, family follow up and other programs that improve their quality of life.

SCANJ seeks to work in partnership with the many dedicated health care professionals who provide much needed care for the sickle cell community and is open to individuals, sickle cell treatment centers, health care providers and organizations that support sickle cell disease services in the State of New Jersey.

About Embrace Kids Foundation. Since 1991, Embrace Kids Foundation has existed to support the non-medical needs of kids with cancer or a blood disorder. Embrace Kids is an independent organization whose programs and support services are offered to patient families under care at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

SOURCE Embrace Kids Foundation; Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey (SCANJ)