Pain Turned Into Passion
Welcome to Sickle Cell 360 a blog from the Sickle Cell Association of Texas Marc Thomas Foundation!
As part of our ongoing goal to provide support and education to our Sickle Cell families, we are starting a blog to give us greater opportunities to do so! In addition to having a brand-new website, we will be publishing blog posts monthly or more frequently, with a wide range of topics having to do with all aspects of sickle cell disease, sickle cell trait and its affects on the whole person and families. For our first post, we want our readers to know who we truly are. Our story is one of life, love, pain and a legacy that will not be forgotten.
An Interview with Our President: Ms. Linda Thomas Wade
Ms. Linda Thomas Wade started the Sickle Cell Association of Texas Marc Thomas Foundation with her late husband, Pastor Marc Thomas, in 1997. Pastor Marc Thomas himself had Sickle Cell Disease, and during his life, he tirelessly fought to help other families affected by the disease. For over 20 years, the organization has served families with Sickle Cell Disease and Trait and continues to do so, now having reached over 750,000 people.
Q- How did the Sickle Cell Association of Texas Marc Thomas Foundation first get started?
A- My late husband, who suffered from Sickle Cell Disease wanted a slower pace, and he wanted to make sure that our children would get through college. So, we relocated to Texas and there was no organization here for Sickle Cell Disease. We started one in our little, two-bedroom apartment, and it’s grown from there. I’m originally from Oakland, CA. When I was in my teens, I was walking through the mall one day, and there were some people from the original Black Panthers doing some education. One of them called me over and asked, “Do you know about this disease that’s killing our people?” I walked over because he was cute, and he educated me and tested me for Sickle Cell Trait.
Several years later, I met my late husband; on our first date, he asked me if I had Trait. I said no and asked why. He said, “Good, because I’m gonna marry you.”
Q- In your opinion, what makes the organization work, or what about it makes it successful?
A- God above all else. In addition to the faithfulness, diligence, and passion that our families have for sickle cell disease.
Q- After running the Sickle Cell Association of Texas Marc Thomas Foundation for over 20 years, how do you maintain your passion and drive to keep working?
A- I think about our families that we serve, and I never forget about the ones that we have lost. That’s what gives me the passion to keep going. Many years ago, we had a little boy in the ICU. I had just lost my late husband and was having a hard time, but this boy’s mother called me and said he wanted to see me. So, I went to the hospital, and when I got there, his mother met me at the doors and said, “He just wanted to thank you for all the work you do for him and all the other sickle cell families.” And I have never forgotten that.
Q- The Sickle Cell Association of Texas Marc Thomas Foundation has been serving families for over 20 years. Where do you think we will be in another 20 years?
A- In the next 20 years, I see the organization having multiple buildings, with plenty of space to become a full service, holistic care organization on the national or global level; helping families locally, as well as abroad.
Q- What is one thing that you would want readers to know about you or the organization?
A- I would want readers to know: we are built to last, we are built to serve. Our goal is to assist everyone that lives with Sickle Cell Disease or carries Sickle Cell Trait, and the at-risk population. We want a universal cure, so that other families won’t have to go through what I went through and what other families have gone through.
We are built to last, we are built to serve
What our organization does:
Our organization seeks to make an holistic impact on many levels. Primarily, we provide certified case management, assistance and referrals for individuals and families who are affected by sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait. We also provide certified hemoglobinopathy education to clients, healthcare professionals, and community leaders as well as free sickle cell trait testing for the at-risk population. We host several events for our families and the at-risk population as well, including:
- Camp Cell-A-Bration for children with Sickle Cell
- Camp Next Level for teenagers transitioning from pediatric to adult care
- E.S.C.A.P.E. Retreat an empowering and educational event for sickle cell adults
- Walk for Sickle Cell in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio
- Sickle Cell-A-Bration in the Park
- Christmas parties in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio
- Masquerade Luncheon Soirée honoring sickle cell heroes
Keep an eye out for our blog posts, starting on this month.
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