Thirty- fifth annual appreciation banquet: One Cause, One Community
By Janice Hayes (WEB)
The Sickle Cell Disease Association of Broward County, Inc. (SCDABC) hosted its 35th annual appreciation banquet on Sept. 22, 2012 at the E. Pat Larkins Community Center. Rosalind Pinder, chair of the SCDABC’s Executive Board opened with a passionate appeal to their supporters to remain committed to raising funds for research to find a cure.
Sickle cell anemia is inherited from parents and mostly affects those of Sub-Saharan African descent. According to the National Institutes of Health, about one out of 500 African-American children born in the U.S. will have sickle cell anemia.
The SCDABC was established in 1977 as a grassroots effort by the late Cheryl Peterman, the late Henry Latimer and a small group of Black com-munity leaders including Levi Henry, Jr. retired publisher, the late Yvonne Henry, editor of the Westside Gazette, Broward County’s Oldest and Largest Black-owned and Operated newspaper; Ernestine Brown-Hankerson, the late Dr. Calvin Shirley, and a few others concerned about the lack of awareness and the lack of resources within our community. The SCDABC’s core mission continues to be dedicated to ad-dressing research, medical, social, psychological and the informational needs of individuals and their families living with sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait.
“This is a serious cause and sickle cell is a devastating illness, but tonight we are here to celebrate and appreciate our sponsors, supporters and survivors,” said Janice Hayes. Serving as Mistress of Ceremony, Hayes set the ambiance for an evening of reflection and celebration, sharing humorous anecdotes and uplifting quips to temper the somber reality those affected by sickle cell.
Rodney Baltimore, executive producer and co-host of the Tom Joyner Morning Show(TJMS) was one of five distinguished honorees. Baltimore was honored for his unselfish service and commitment to the local community. Ernestine Brown-Hankerson was honored for her 35 years of service as a member of the SCDABC.
Brown-Hankerson lost two children to sickle cell disease and helped spearhead the design and creation of the Healing Quilt project; a quilt honoring those in Florida who succumbed to sickle cell disease. The grandson of Judith Snell accepted the award on her behalf. Snell was born with sickle cell anemia and has been a proud champion for others living with the disease. Dr. Debra Ingram is a pediatrician and a clinical assistant professor at NSU. She was honored for her untiring commitment and benevolent care for children, especially in impoverished communities. Mamie B. Smith was honored for her lifetime service in the community and her dedication to the SCDABC, where she not only serves as Chaplain, but she also spends countless hours volunteering in the office.
Dr. Diane Sanders-Cepeda gave a riveting address connecting the progression in the advancement of computer technology’s user adaption to the progression in the advancement and awareness of sickle cell disease by the medical community. She emphasized the benefits of medical practitioners working collaboratively with their sickle cell patients for better outcomes. Dr. Sanders-Cepeda is board- certified in family and geriatric medicine.
“I have always had a very vibrant and bold imagination. I imagine a sickle cell- free society, a time in my lifetime when this disease is eradicated,” said Dr. Sanders-Cepeda. “But it is going to take all of us working together, the medical community, those living with sickle cell, and those who support this cause, one community, one cause.”
Karen Smalls has served as the president and executive director of SCDABC for the last three years, providing resources, referrals and other assistance to SCDABC’s clients. She has established herself as a strong advocate and faithful friend of the individuals and families impacted by sickle cell disease. Smalls affectionately refers to the SCDABC clients as her family. Her love and genuine concern for them is demonstrated in the countless hours she spends seeking resources and connecting them to the appropriate medical providers.
Smalls and Marilyn Sanders, vice president along with the other members of the SCDABC’s Executive Board: Dana Wilson, corresponding secretary, Adrienne Williams, financial secretary, Rosetta Change, treasurer, Mamie Smith, chaplain and Anthony Cox, outreach coordinator work diligently to garner financial support for the 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.
They have fostered supportive relationships with individuals and organizations such as Mayor Jack Brady and the City of North Lauderdale, The Links Incorporated, The Charmettes, Chi Psi Omega Sorority, Healthy Coffee, Broward Health, Jasmine Shirley, Mike D. Payne, Rodney Baltimore, Greater Providence Missionary Baptist Church, McWhite’s Funeral Home, Sanders Exclusive Creations, Geriatic & Pallative Care Center of South Florida, R. C. Smith with UPS, Teleperformance, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Zeta Rho Omega Chapter, Wells Fargo, BEGA, LS1426, Inc. and many other individuals and organizations who contribute to the support of SCDABC.
“As many nonprofit organizations have experienced declining incomes during these recessionary times, the SCDABC has not gone unscathed. While there have been added demands on our dwindling resources, as more clients ask for increased help, SCDABC has remained committed to the care of our clients. Over 95 percent of our donations go directly to the care of our clients. Most of our administrative and operating costs are defrayed by the benevolence of our board members,” said Smalls.
For more information on the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Broward County, and/or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, client services, referrals or to make a donation, contact the SCDABC (954) 524-4920 or visit www.sicklefreebroward.org