Because of an inherited blood disorder, Killeen resident Rolanda Bannerman was never able to purchase life insurance.

The 41-year-old wife and mother of five daughters and one son died Saturday from complications due to sickle cell disease, representatives of the Central Texas Sickle Cell Anemia Association said.

“During her lifetime, she was never physically able to work outside the home,” said the Rev. Gene Carter, executive director of the Central Texas Sickle Cell Anemia Association.

With the family’s permission, Carter said the association is raising funds for funeral expenses by making requests to area churches, social organizations and anyone who wants to give.

Individuals diagnosed with the incurable disease often find themselves turned away from receiving life insurance, Carter said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with sickle cell disease, red blood cells are crescent- or sickle-shaped as opposed to disc-shaped, which blocks blood flow.

Carter said the Central Texas Sickle Cell Anemia Association is a nonprofit organization supporting those affected and creating awareness.

“Knowing someone cares enough to help is encouraging,” Carter said.

Bannerman was part of Killeen’s support group, which is led by coordinator Ruby Graham, he said.

Bannerman’s funeral services will be at noon Saturday. Her surviving husband, Robert, is a 23-year Army veteran.

Donations for Bannerman’s funeral expenses can be mailed to Sickle Cell, P.O. Box 881, Waco, TX 76703.

Contact Rachael Riley at or 254-501-7553

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