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Alpha Phi Alpha helps send children who suffer from sickle-cell disease to summer camp

 

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s Beta Psi Lambda Chapter (Los Angeles) has been a long-time supporter of Sickle Cell Disease Foundation.  Every winter, the chapter hosts a Christmas party for families who are affected by the disease, and every summer they help raise money to send children who suffer from sickle-cell disease to Camp Crescent Moon, which is a summer camp that meets the children’s needs.

The chapter helps raise these funds by participating in the foundation’s annual walk-a-thon, which will take place on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Temescal Gateway Park, located at 15601 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades.  The chapter has a goal of raising $1906.  Visit https://ssl.charityweb.net/scdfc/walk/socalalphafamily.htm to donate and visit http://www.scdfc.org/ for more information about the foundation.  

Raising these funds is important because children affected by sickle cell cannot attend a number of summer camps that typical children can because the activities are not tailored to their health needs. Also, a number of summer camps are in mountainous areas, where the higher elevation can be an issue to people with sickle cell.

While Crescent Moon is geared toward these children’s specific needs, it still has many of the same activities as a typical summer camp.

“They play tag football and basketball, arts and crafts,” said Mary Brown, president/CEO of the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California. “They have a special program about sickle-cell disease. They sing and dance, and they do everything else, but just at a lower level, and at a little slower pace.”

Sickle Cell has affected Beta Psi Lambda Chapter. Chris Olphin, who crossed at Omicron Eta (UC Irvine, passed away from the disease a few years ago, so members of the chapter are aware of how this disease can affect African Americans.

“It’s very important that we take care of our own,” said Brother Damon Oliver.  “When you see what these beautiful children and their families go through, it’s the least that we can do.”

In the past Beta Psi Lambda has participated in a blood drive for sickle cell with the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.  Realizing the lack of awareness, members of the Chapter wanted provide for families in need while bringing to light the importance of this disease.

One in every 400 African Americans has sickle cell anemia. Raising awareness of the disease has become increasingly difficult, which means that funding is hard to come by, and even worse, finding African American blood donors has become a major issue. Contrary to belief, donating blood is not painful at all, and it only takes a few minutes. There are many children who are in serious pain. A prick that you will feel for only a split second could take their pain away.

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