By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter
Close to 400 people filled Temescal Gateway Park on Saturday, May 4 as part of the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation’s 10th Annual Walk-A-Thon.
The foundation, which hosts the annual Camp Crescent Moon, a week-long overnight summer camp for chronically ill children living with sickle cell disease, brought their fundraising walk to the Palisades for the first time.
Normally held at Los Angeles Southwest College, organizer Patrice Ragin and her team thought Temescal Gateway Park better suited this year’s walk in honor of Palisadian Jeff Smith who was Chairman of the Board of Directors for their foundation.
“Every year it kind of gives me chills to see such a number of people get together for the same cause,” said Ragin in an interview with the Palisadian-Post.
Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that causes abnormal proteins in the body and results in chronic pain or infections throughout the body.
Ragin, who lived in Atlanta, lost her husband in 2012 to sickle cell disease and decided to move back to California to give back to the community and get involved in helping others with the same disease that her husband suffered from.
“It’s always very emotional for me to see such a gathering of people that are trying to make a difference in the lives of people who live with sickle cell disease,” she said.
The staff of over 70, some who live with the disease as well, volunteer a week of their time to make Camp Crescent Moon happen.
To start off the walk, Ragin called some of the past campers that are now adults and had them lead with the banners.
Going forward, Ragin plans to bring the Walk-A-Thon back to Pacific Palisades next year and hopes to continue raising awareness for her community and the Palisadian Camp.
“It’s a big community of people and we just hope that it continues to grow and just trying to get the word out,” said Ragin. “It’s tough though because we don’t have the pockets as some of these other charitable organizations. We’re not cancer, we’re not diabetes, we’re not aids, and so it’s just really hard to get the awareness piece out and the education piece out when you have limited funds… but it’s something that we will always make happen.”
Further donations can be made at scdfc.org