The walk on sickle cell disease for “A precious organization” celebrates its 10th anniversary on Saturday

ALTON — The ‘A Valuable Organization’ walk will raise awareness for sickle cell disease (SCD), which includes sickle cell anemia, this Saturday, as the nonprofit celebrates a decade of raising awareness.

The 10th annual Precious Organization Walk for Sickle Cell Disease, founded by Tammy Smith and named for her daughter, Precious, who has sickle cell disease, begins at 10 a.m. Saturday; registration begins at 8 a.m. at Rock Spring Park, 2116 College Ave., Alton. The one-mile walk begins on the College Avenue sidewalk and continues through the park along paved paths/roads. Registration for adults is $30; the youngster costs $15.

A lunch will be offered, along with rewards and prizes, and gifts for all attendees.

“It wasn’t until Precious got so sick and nearly died that I took her to another hospital for treatment and found out Precious had sickle cell disease,” Smith recalled.

The inherited blood cell disorder causes red blood cells to turn into a crescent (“sickle”) shape and get stuck in small blood vessels. This blockage inhibits blood flow, which deprives the tissues of oxygen and causes severe pain and tissue damage, and can lead to a stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sickle-shaped cells die early, leading to a constant shortage of red blood cells. People with sickle cell disease should receive frequent blood transfusions.

Smith and her daughter are helping to raise awareness by sharing Precious’ experience with the disease, which she continues to live with. She received her first blood transfusion at age 2.

It wasn’t until her daughter nearly died that Smith took her to another hospital for treatment and learned that Precious had sickle cell disease. The inherited blood cell disorder causes red blood cells to turn into a crescent (“sickle”) shape and get stuck in small blood vessels. This blockage inhibits blood flow, which deprives the tissues of oxygen and causes severe pain and tissue damage.

“Our goal is to raise awareness, educate the community, improve healthcare services and impact the lives of those who struggle with sickle cell disease every day,” Smith said.

To register for the 10th Annual Aprecious Organization Sickle Cell Walk, go to www.apreciousorganization.org and click register/donate.