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ST. LOUIS – For more than half-a-century, an organization for African-American women has quietly served those less fortunate in cities across the globe. Recently, the women of The Links, Incorporated partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to address sickle cell disease.

Children diagnosed with sickle cell anemia face unique health challenges. To help these children live long and crisis-free lives, The Links Foundation, Incorporated presented its 2018 Legacy Grant to St. Jude.

The million-dollar gift will help the hospital continue working with patients diagnosed with the inherited blood disease.

“We know that the first cure for sickle cell happened right here at St. Jude’s Hospital, so we are very excited about being able to support the continuation of that research,” said Dr. Glenda Newell-Harris, M.D., 16th National President of the Links, Incorporated.

St. Jude’s founder, Danny Thomas, envisioned a place where children would get the care they needed to survive life-threatening diseases. Research and treatment of sickle cell disease began when the hospital opened in 1962.

James R. Downing, president and CEO of St. Jude’s Hospital, said the monetary gift from the African-American women’s group was greatly appreciated.

“It essentially establishes these two organizations as partners in this war against this disease. You have our commitment that we’re going to do everything we can to change the outlook for those children diagnosed with sickle cell disease,” Downing said.

The Links’ Legacy Grant will support an expansion of three St. Jude clinical efforts, including:

  • studies designed to increase knowledge of cognitive deficits in children with the disease
  • the development of a community health worker education program to counsel parents of Nigerian infants with sickle cell disease
  • and a mobile app to help patients increase self-care practices when transitioning from childhood to young adult

Sickle Cell disease is the most commonly inherited blood disorder in the United States. Affecting about 100,000 Americans. One out of every 365 African-American babies born in this country has the disease.

“We’re going to be educating our fifteen thousand members about St. Jude, the services that are provided by St. Jude. Because many of our members have sickle cell anemia or sickle cell trait. And have children who have suffered with leukemia and things of that nature,” said Dr. Newell-Harris.

The St. Jude Dream Home is another way to get involved. You can reserve your chance to win a suite at the baseball stadium online at Entries will be accepted up until midnight, July 13.