Spoken Word Poetry Contest Open to Sickle Cell Patients, Caregivers

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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A spoken word poetry contest is welcoming submissions from people with sickle cell disease (SCD) and their caregivers.

The contest, “Lift Every Voice to Shine the Light on Sickle Cell,” is being jointly launched by Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) and the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) in honor of World Sickle Cell Day, observed on June 19.

It is being presented by Sickle Cell Speaks, an education campaign run by GBT that aims to highlight authentic stories of people living with SCD in an effort to eliminate disease misconceptions.

“People with sickle cell disease possess an incredibly rich and diverse array of creative abilities, often used to express the physical and emotional burden of living with this complex and devastating disease,” Beverley Francis-Gibson, president and CEO of the SCDAA, said in a press release.

“Celebrating these voices is critical as we work to overcome the legacy of stigma and misinformation that have a direct impact on health outcomes,” Francis-Gibson added.

People with sickle cell, as well as their caregivers, can participate in the contest by submitting videos of themselves reciting original writings that detail their experience living with SCD. The deadline to sign up for the contest, open to U.S. residents, is May 24.

For each submission received, GBT has committed to donate $100 to the SCDAA, up to a total of $5,000.

Those interested in participating, may learn more details about the contest and how to submit a video by sending an email to [email protected]. Additional information may also be found on Sickle Cell Speaks Facebook page.

Performances by the contest winner and finalists will be featured in virtual events held June 18–19 on the Sickle Cell Speaks Facebook and Instagram pages. These events will be hosted and feature the performances by three SCD advocates — musician and writer Charly Richard, musician and entrepreneur DeMitrious Wyant, and nurse and poet Candis St. John — who are passionate about spoken word.

The contest winner will also be featured in a GBT event at the SCDAA Annual Convention in October.

“GBT is proud to partner with SCDAA to recognize the many inspiring voices within the sickle cell community who have rallied for progress in the face of tremendous health and societal challenges over the last year,” said Jung E. Choi, chief business and strategy officer and head of patient advocacy and government affairs at GBT.

“People with SCD suffer from a terrible, life-threatening disease that is made worse by being subjected to racial bias. We reiterate our commitment to shining a brighter light on the inequities these patients encounter and will continue working with all our partners to ensure access to the high-quality care patients deserve,” Choi said.

“We are proud to partner with GBT to shine the light on the challenges that SCD warriors face with strength and resilience,” Francis-Gibson added.