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Sickle cell anemia awareness

To the editor:

February is a month reflecting history of many African-Americans.  We are reminded of the many sacrifices made for the beliefs that all people should be treated equally.  

African-Americans continue to celebrate those who paved the way for many today.  Many paved the way for the future generations to come. We have finished celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in the month of January.  Let us not forget his dream for a better day for all mankind. 

Let’s remember a disease that affects all people, all races, especially African-Americans.  Many people feel this disease – sickle cell anemia -- has been forgotten or that this is a black people disease only.  

South Boston/Halifax County Sickle Cell Chapter has been around for a while assisting individuals and families with sickle cell disease (SCD).  Our dream and goals are to educate the public that sickle cell disease is not a black people’s disease only, but it affects many races.

Sickle cell disease is found more frequently in persons of the Middle Eastern, India, Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece, Italy, South and Central America, the Caribbean and African heritage because these geographic regions are most prone to malaria.  

The gene variant for sickle cell disease is related to malaria, not skin color.  Sickle cell disease originated by the gene mutating as a result of malaria resistance.  It is estimated that 100,000 people are living with sickle cell disease in the U.S.; two million people live with sickle cell disease worldwide.  

Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder inherited at birth because both the mothers and fathers were sickle cell trait carriers.  Two million Americans have the sickle cell trait gene.  This disease affects the shape and function of the red blood cells.  The red blood cells form a crescent or sickle cell shape that slows down or blocks the blood from flowing.  

Constant breakdown of the damaged red blood cell releases proteins that increase inflammation, clotting and vasoconstriction.  This occurrence causes individuals to suffer in extreme pain and results in chronic damage to multiple organs.   

South Boston/Halifax County Sickle Cell Chapter wants to collaborate with community groups, businesses, churches, schools, healthcare providers, health department personnel, medical nursing and social work students, families and individuals living with sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait within the community.  

We want families and individuals struggling with sickle cell disease or sickle cell traits to know you are not alone. There is support within your community. 

We have partnered with the United Way to continue providing assistance to those that need it.  You may contact Executive Director Darlene Link at our office within the United Way Agency.  Our number is 434-517-6161.  

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, let’s remember a disease that still afflicts many African-Americans even today. 

Start your dream today by assisting someone with a better life, for life is a precious gift that should be cherished by all.  We look forward to breaking the cycle of sickle cell disease.  Remember get tested and educated.

Darlene Link

Executive Director

South Boston/Halifax County Sickle Cell Chapter


U.S. could win big

To the editor:

This summer one big sporting event to take place is the World Cup in soccer. It is being held in Brazil. The teams picked to win it will be Brazil, Spain and Germany, who have won multiple World Cups, with Brazil being the favorite since it is the host country.

I think the United States has a good shot this time for two reasons, the coach and the players. 

The coach is Jurgen Klinsmann of Germany. He is probably one of the best soccer players of all time, scoring goals in two World Cup finals. He has been the coach the past four years leading the U.S. to several impressive wins. The players are the most talented group of athletes I have seen on a U.S. team in a long time, scoring multiple goals.

I think the United States has a good chance of winning big this time around.

Paul DuPont




To the editor:

Russell Wilson and the Seattle Sea Hawks won Super Bowl 48. Seattle dominated with excellent offensive and defensive plays. 

In celebration of Black History, it is fitting that Wilson is the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl as the starting quarterback for the entire season. Also, he is the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl in his second year and to have the most wins with 28 wins. 

Denver had the best offense coming into the game. Seattle had the best defense.

As we now know, Seattle prevailed with a 43 to 8 victory. Seattle is the youngest team. 

It is possible that Wilson repeats next football season. 

John Woody 

South Boston