Tuesday, November 17, 2015

eMedia pumps new blood into Sickle Cell Support Foundation

eMedia's Tyrone Wilson engages the audience
in an intimate discussion of his journey to success
 while rising above Sickle Cell Disease at the
 recently held quarterly meeting of the
 Sickle Cell Support Foundation.
In the presence of 'family', CEO of eMedia Tyrone Wilson, cemented his status as a budding philanthropist by presenting the groundwork for a foundation that will assist those diagnosed with sickle cell trait and disease to pursue various levels of educational and professional development.

This announcement was made on Saturday September 19 at the Sickle Cell Support Foundation of Jamaica's quarterly meeting aptly titled 'Moving Beyond Sickle Cell, Making Your Dreams A Reality', at which Wilson, a Prime Minister Youth Awardee, was the keynote speaker.

According to Wilson, this foundation, which will be formed in partnership with the Sickle Cell Support Foundation of Jamaica, will help in entrepreneurship, creativity and education. It will seek assistance from other corporations in order to meet the goal of providing funding for  those students at the high school level going into university as well as those at the university level who want to start a business, that are identified as being in need.

“One of the goals of the Sickle Cell Support Foundation is to empower young persons with Sickle Cell Disease and help them to realize their educational and career goals,” shared Camille Daley, President of the Sickle Cell Support Foundation of Jamaica. “So, I welcome the collaboration with Tyrone and I am excited about the future possibilities.” She also disclosed how impressed she was by the fact that “Tyrone has sought to train young men from the inner city in videography and hire them to work for his company; demonstrating that Tyrone has not forgotten his humble roots, and is seeking to empower young men, many of whom lack marketable skills, reduce poverty and build our economy.”

Sharing in his first ever public presentation about his life-long battle with sickle cell disease, the PSOJ 50UnderFifty Awardee highlighted his intense struggle of mind over body in pursuit of educational excellence. "I will never forget my primary school grade one teacher," shared Wilson, "Every time my mom would come to pick me up, I would be in her arms, sick ... yet, I still finished as one of the top students."

 In fact, even though he was sick often, Wilson still completed his high school education as the top student of his graduating year at Jamaica College. "When you have sickle cell you can't forget those achievements," declared Wilson.

The newly formed foundation will seek to build and source more knowledge of the disease and its treatment; as well as seek dialogue with educational institutions on how to best accommodate affected students.

"There are simply a lot of things that we'll never be,” disclosed Wilson, “not because we're not smart enough, but simply because the body is not able.”

Wilson closed his speech expressing his delight at having a room filled with persons with whom he had something in common, and having a space outside of his immediate household to speak freely about Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). He also revealed that in being asked to present at the quarterly meeting, he felt the need within himself to do more to encourage others to go for their goals despite the conditions they face and hopes that the foundation will thoroughly facilitate that desire.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services classifies Sickle Cell Disease as a lifelong illness. The term Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) describes a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. People with SCD have abnormal hemoglobin, called hemoglobin S or sickle hemoglobin, in their red blood cells. Sickle hemoglobin is not like normal hemoglobin. It can form stiff rods within the red cell, changing it into a crescent, or sickle shape. Sickle-shaped cells are not flexible and can stick to vessel walls, causing a blockage that slows or stops the flow of blood. When this happens, oxygen can’t reach nearby tissues. The severity of the disease varies widely from person to person. In high-income countries like the United States, the life expectancy of a person with SCD is now about 40–60 years. In 1973, the average lifespan of a person with SCD in the United States was only 14 years. Advances in the diagnosis and care of SCD have made this improvement possible.

"You're not just living with Sickle Cell, you're living."  Wilson reminded his audience.

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