The Misty Melony Sickle Cell Disease Foundation Aims to Make Life Better for Sickle Cell Patients
By Brian W. Carter
Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel
Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation’s (SCFF) blood drive was created due to the need of blood for life-threatening diseases and conditions. It’s for this reason that SCFF is asking everyone to come out and donate blood on September 19, from 10-3 pm in honor of Sickle Cell Disease Month at the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper. Misty Williams Marshall started the Misty Melony Sickle Cell Disease Foundation (MMSDF), a non-profit, to help those suffering with sickle cell. She knows from personal experience how painful and difficult life with sickle cell can be.
“Every patient has some form of pain,” said Marshall. “I know for a fact, as for me, I function at a five out of 10 pain [level] every day.”
Sickle cell affects 90,000-100,000 Americans and it occurs in one of 500 African-American births. Hemoglobin S changes the shape and red blood cells causing them to get stuck easily in the small vessel, breaking into bits and pieces that can interrupt the natural body’s blood flow. The problem decreases the amount of oxygen flowing to the body tissues as well.
Marshall founded MMSDF, a non-profit that helps sickle cell patients at a particularly crucial in time in their lives. She is familiar with being in-and-out of the hospital due to the medical complications that come with the disease. Many of those hospitalizations include receiving multiple blood transfusions along with other treatments. Marshall spoke about what those with sickle cell go through on a regular basis.
Symptoms include fatigue, paleness, rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath. Many sickle cell patients have painful episodes they call “crises” which can last hours or even days. Pain is usually felt in the long bones, back and chest. MMSDF steps in to make a difficult process a little easier for patients and the family.
“My foundation does hospital visitations. Our main program is called the Transitioning Program. This program consists of the adult physician that we hand pick with the patient and their parent or guardian. It’s a triangular situation that we work by and that is: patient first, pediatric doctor second and third, the adult physician that’s going to take you on to live the rest of your life.”
The program serves as a bridge for youth with sickle cell transitioning into adulthood. MMSDF makes sure parents and youth make the right connections in terms of the doctors and hospitals from which they will be seeking care.
“Once they’ve done that and established that, automatically we set them up and say ‘ok, this is the doctor and the hospital you will be going to for when your child has become [an adult] and needs an adult facility.”
MMSDF is all about partnering up with other organizations, who are in the fight against sickle cell. They partnered up with SCFF to help bring awareness and support the call for donating blood.
“We are very open-minded with sharing our love with other organizations,” said Marshall. “We love to partner up with these organizations to help their cause and also help our cause because we cannot live off of government funding alone.”
Marshall hasn’t let sickle cell determine her present or her future as she lives a full life in spite of the disease. She has been able to attain most of her dreams and lives life for the most part on her terms. She shared a little bit of that journey and what she has planned next.
She is currently in the process of becoming a chef and once that’s completed, she wants to open up a restaurant or any type of company where each plate of food, a percent of that will go to sickle cell and lupus.
If you would like find out how you can help contribute to the Misty Melony Sickle Cell Disease Foundation, please visit www.mmscdf.org or call (323) 902-7151. You can donate online on their website. Misty is looking for sponsors and support to continue her pursuit of becoming a chef and opening a restaurant to continue the fight against sickle cell disease.