By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Special Interest | Issue: August 2017
The Watts family: Son DeAndre, daughter-in-law Ahleah, son Adrian, son-in-law Quantez, daughter Shamiah, son Jeremiah Jr., Jeremiah and Velvet Watts, and granddaughter Addison.
Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease, Inc. (known as Supporters), is an IRS 501(c)(3) designated nonprofit agency that serves the State of Oklahoma from its Tulsa-based office. They are contracted with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Velvet Brown-Watts is the founder and Executive Director of Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease. She has a Master of Social Work degree in Social Work Administration geared towards Community and Organization Development. Jeremiah Watts has a Master of Human Relations degree geared towards Organizational Leadership and he is the Development Director of Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease. The Watts are a family impacted by SCD, committed to empowering their community.
“Supporters is the only comprehensive grassroots family support and advocacy organization in Oklahoma, serving the state as a center of contact and referral to available community resources that assist individuals with Sickle Cell and related diseases,” said Velvet. Over 1500 Oklahomans are impacted by sickle cell disease and inherited disorders and another estimated 40,000 may unknowingly be impacted by SCT.”
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round and move through small blood vessels carrying oxygen throughout the body. With SCD, red blood cells are sickle shaped, get stuck and block vessels causing pain and related problems. Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is passed by genes from parents to children. Average mortality rate is 40-60 years.
Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) is not a mild form of SCD. A person with SCT carries a single gene for SCD and can pass it along to their children. People with SCT usually live normal lives.
There is a 50% chance that both parents with SCT will pass the gene along to their children. There is a 25% chance that any child of theirs will have SCD. There is also a 25% chance that a child will not have SCD or SCT.
“Supporters promotes self-care management, testing, education, research and development, and economic self-sufficiency as key approaches to empowerment and effective management of Sickle Cell Disease,” said Jeremiah. “Our vision is to break the cycle of the disease through community education, testing, awareness, and advocacy and to improve the quality of life for children, adults, and families living with SCD in Oklahoma”.
With your support, several special events are brought to families with Sickle Cell, Autism, Fragile-X, Down Syndrome, Cognitive Development Delays and other special disabilities.
Supporters and the EduRec Youth & Family Fun Center present the Annual Back-To-School Bash on Saturday, August 19, at 5424 N Madison Avenue in Tulsa. Free activities will include face painting, clowns, food, bounce houses, family support, door prizes and more.
The 4th Annual 5k Sickle Cell Walk, Run or Jog 2017 is September 9 at 1414 North Greenwood Avenue. Proceeds are used for educational outreach and other program support. Visit www.bit.ly/sicklecell5k2017 and receive an early registration discount.
Contact Jeremiah Watts for information on how you can assist Oklahoma families affected by Sickle Cell and related diseases.
“Donations and volunteers are always needed,” reminded Jeremiah.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.
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