The Intl. WeLoveU Foundation and TOVA Community Health joined forces to host the World Sickle Cell Day Virtual Forum on June 19, 2020. The forum served as a means to raise awareness about sickle cell disease (SCD) while also celebrating the advancement in treatment growth.
“We celebrate hope, we celebrate new treatments, new disease-modifying therapies and the emergence of a new universal cure that is on the horizon,” said Dr. Nina Anderson. “Tonight, you are part of a global virtual community.”
The Story Behind Sickle Cell Disease
The World Health Organization and the United Nations officially recognized SCD as a global public health priority in 2006 and 2008 respectively. To raise awareness, June 19 is designated every year as World Sickle Cell Day. SCD, also known as sickle cell anemia, is a blood disorder causing red blood cells to misshapen like a sickle.
World Sickle Cell Day Panelists & Participants
Virtual panelists Associate Professor of Psychiatry at John Hopkins University and Sickle Cell Pain Expert—C. Patrick Carroll, MD—and Director of the Sickle Cell Center & Professor Pediatrics at University of Illinois at Chicago—Lewis Hsu, MD, PhD, and an advocate and patient of sickle cell disease—Derrick Morgan—shed light on SCD with the forum’s moderator—Founder of TOVA Community Health—Dr. Nina Anderson.
About 600 participants joined the forum at 7 p.m. (EST). However, for some viewers it was not evening but rather the morning and afternoon time. That’s because a handful of viewers reside in different countries around the world. They tuned in from the Dominican Republic, France, Ghana, Honduras, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Korea and Spain. Other countries participation really put emphasis on ‘world’ in World Sickle Cell Day.
Learning & Celebrating Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Growth
The panelist discussion and Q&A portion elaborated on what the blood disorder is, who can get it, symptoms, testing and treatment methods. Panelists Dr. Carroll and Dr. Hsu shared how SCD is handled internationally when they went abroad. Both panelists demonstrated their compassion and care for those they treat with SCD. Mr. Morgan shared his personal experiences, highlighting his achievements and successes despite and his obstacles with SCD.
The World Sickle Cell Day Virtual Forum included a special surprise for the viewers at home. The night’s moderator, Dr. Nina Anderson, played her violin, but the surprises didn’t stop there. The President of the WeLoveU Foundation on the East Coast, Mr. Lee, presented a special award to Dr. Anderson as an appreciation for her devotion to providing the best quality of care to those with sickle cell disease.
“The Intl. WeLoveU Foundation is geared towards promoting healthy living and the well-being of all people. The more we learn about various health concerns and conditions, the more WeLoveU’s health initiative can evolve and grow to support them. Through meaningful partnerships like in the case with TOVA Community Health, WeLoveU is learning how to support those with sickle cell disease and is enthused to be hosting this virtual forum for others to learn as well.”
Alex Post | Director of Global Partnerships of the WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region