Federated Health is supporting a new charity that focuses on sickle cell disease, which primarily impacts Black communities.
MaryAnn Gordon’s daughter has sickle cell disease.
“My daughter’s life is mired by excruciating pain that can occur anywhere in her body, at any given time, without warning,” says Gordon, who adds that by the time her daughter was four, she’d already been through surgery to remove her spleen, numerous blood transfusions and hospital admissions to treat her for severe bone pain. By the time she was eight, she experienced a silent stroke.
“Most days I am on edge, preparing for a phone call from her school telling me she is having a crisis and I need to come get her,” says Gordon. “This happens on average three to four times per week.”
Gordon’s daughter is one of nearly 4,000 Ontarians who live with sickle cell disease. Thanks to ongoing discussions with the Black Ontario Public Service Employees Network (BOPSers) about historic inequities and systemic racism in the health sector, Federated Health is now supporting the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario (SCAGO), making the organization the 21st charity the campaign supports.
Many people are concerned that Black communities have been experiencing systemic racism and health inequities for too long.
Despite the fact that almost 4,000 people on Ontario live with the disease, sickle cell disease is given less priority for resources and investment into research than other less common diseases.
“We recognize the links between structural anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and health inequities and how this leads to poorer health outcomes for Black and Indigenous communities,” says Federated Health Charities Executive Director Sarah Wood.
“It was great working with our corporate partners on this long standing and overdue sickle cell anemia initiative,” says Elvalyn Brown, BOPSers chair.
“The more we spread the word about sickle cell, the more people will become enlightened to learn about the illness and its impact on Black families. I encourage you to make a difference. Please donate.”
Learn more about Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders you are born with and is caused by an abnormal form of hemoglobin, causing it to not work properly. This is the part of your red blood cell that keeps your vital organs working. Red blood cells become stiff and block up blood vessels in your body, causing pain and damage, and also get destroyed quickly, leading to anemia and other complications. Currently, there is no universal cure.
“Federated Health Charities’ mission is to support the health of all Ontarians. We need to assess the gaps in our membership and ensure there are not communities being missed,” says Wood. “Sickle cell disease is deeply affecting Black communities and is not receiving the support it needs, so we needed to take action.”
Black communities are suffering with this disease without appropriate supports and your donation can help
Each individual gift may seem small, but together they make the difference between services being available or not. We invite you to join us in doing our part to ensure Black communities have access to the supports they need to live their healthiest lives.