By Candace Birkelbach
Killeen Daily Herald
Birds were chirping and there was plenty of sunshine as local residents put on their walking shoes Saturday morning to help researchers find a cure for sickle cell anemia.
The Central Texas Sickle Cell Anemia Association hosted the Walk for A Cure Saturday morning at Andy K. Wells Park in Killeen.
About 200 people showed up for the fun walk, and the CTSCAA raised about $2,000.
Registration was $10 per person. The money collected will benefit sickle cell anemia research.
"I would have liked to see more people there, but every little bit helps," said Ruby Graham, coordinator of the Killeen-area CTSCAA. "Sickle cell anemia is a very serious disease and unless we educate people about what's going on, more kids will be born with it."
Sickle cell anemia is a blood disorder that affects hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells.
It occurs in a person's body when red blood cells become sickle-shaped like a crescent moon – instead of a normal circular red blood cell. Sickle cells do not flow through the veins easily and can clump up, causing pain, serious infections and organ damage.
The disease is lifelong, and while many treatments exist, there is no cure in most cases.
Graham said the group needs to raise funds to keep its office open for those who need assistance in obtaining medicine, transportation or just counseling.
"We'll do whatever we can to help," Graham said. "Sometimes, people just need someone to talk to."
In January, CTSCAA will host its annual telethon to raise funds for sickle cell patients. Graham said she hopes those who could not participate in the fun walk will help with the telethon.
Contact Candace Birkelbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7553