The Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois (SCDAI) announced plans to hold its 45th Annual 8K Walk/Jog/Bike-A-Thon on July 20, continuing the group’s longstanding efforts to raise funds and disease awareness.
Rain or shine, the event will take place starting at 8 a.m. along the shores of Lake Michigan at 39th Street, with a goal of collecting $100,000 for SCDAI community programs and support given to people with sickle cell disease (SCD).
This year, NBA New York Knicks player Billy Garrett Jr., the league’s first known athlete to live with SCD, will attend and mingle with participants. The Chicago native was diagnosed as a newborn and is a source of inspiration for many of the 4,000 SCD patients in Illinois, and 100,000 across the nation.
”I’m excited to come home and support SCDAI in this great endeavor,” Garrett said in a news release. “I have always been active in sports and, over the years, learned the limitations and accommodations my body needs in order for me to triumph over sickle cell. I hope to share my story with sickle cell warriors everywhere and show that you can achieve your dreams and goals by living a healthy lifestyle and having a positive mindset.”
In addition to the 8K lakefront walk, jog or bike, the SCDAI’s premier event will feature an optional 5K timed run, with racers competing for the best time and a medal.
To register as an individual or team, donate to the cause, or sponsor the event, please click here. Cost is $30 per adult (18 and over) and $20 per child; youth T-shirts are an additional $10.
“As the mother of a sickle cell warrior, I am personally motivated to help everyone affected by this disease,” said TaLana Hughes, executive director of the SCDAI. “Because sickle cell disease is often exacerbated by cold weather, we are excited to host an event that gets warriors and their supporters outside and having fun in the sun, being active and enjoying life, just like everyone else. We encourage all Chicago residents and the surrounding areas to get involved.”
Since 1971, the SCDAI has worked to enhance the lives of patients and caregivers, and to serve as an advocate for improved health care and services.
Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affect hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body.