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All About the Sickle Cell Gathering

All About the Sickle Cell Gathering
This cop didn't know what he signed up for!

The Gathering last year, a cruise to the Bahamas

Hey Warrior Family!

We hope you are doing well.

Sickle Cell Warriors, Inc. is planning the 2nd Annual Sickle Cell Community Gathering and Educational Symposium. This year it is in Atlanta, GA from July 17-20, 2014 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Buckhead. We are delighted to invite you to attend and participate in the Gathering.

The Gathering is an annual event designed to bring the sickle cell community together. It’s focused on celebrating warriors, parents, family members, friends, and caregivers, those who fight on the front lines daily the battle against sickle cell disease. The mission of the Gathering is to encourage participants to live vibrantly with sickle cell, achieve all their dreams and potential while managing their health. All are invited who are directly impacted in some way by sickle cell disease. All ages are welcome.

Dealing with sickle cell is something we often do alone, with very little help. But the Gathering gives us all an opportunity to share our collective experiences, learn together, share together, and form lasting bonds and friendship. Those who attended the Gathering last year found it enjoyable, educational, and gratifying. One great theme was the fact that we are not victims in isolation, living in silence and sadness. The Gathering brings us all together to share our experiences with others who have also walked in the same shoes.

Yes, we are fly, and yes, we know it!

Yes, we are fly, and yes, we know it!

We have built into the program free time for those who wish to explore Atlanta and devised a Scavenger Hunt to help you in this quest. Atlanta is an amazing city full of culture, history, and enjoyable experiences like Atlanta Station, Underground Atlanta, World of Coca-Cola, Centennial Olympic Park, Martin Luther King Jnr’s historical home, CNN Center, Atlanta Zoo, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Georgia Aquarium, Turner Field, Six Flags, Children’s Museum Atlanta and much more. All these sights are conveniently located within proximity to our hotel or can be reached via the all-access MARTA pass that your registration covers.

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It won’t be just fun and games. This year’s program promises to be an enriching, educational experience. The topics for the Gathering have been carefully selected by topics requested by the members of the sickle cell community. All facilitators and participants are warriors, just like you. On Thursday evening, we have a can’t-miss session that teaches everyone about the science of sickle cell to help understand what is really going on in our bodies.

The half-day symposiums on Friday and Saturday address coping strategies for every aspect of your life, including dealing with work, school, family, and relationships. We have two simultaneous sessions, so whether you are a warrior, parent or caregiver, there is bound to be a session you learn from. We have a session that details how to manage with hospitalizations, from both sides of the coin. We will have sessions that address the emotional impact of sickle cell, discuss alternative remedies, and even debate current treatment options. We even have After Dark sessions that discuss taboo topics.

On Saturday night we will have a celebration/dance party for all participants, and an awards banquet that celebrates the nominees of the Sickle Cell Warriors’ Community Service Awards; self-sacrificing people who support us in the fight against sickle cell disease. Please bring a costume or formal attire. We will also introduce the 2014 Sickle Cell Warrior Prince & Princess, youth who exemplify living well with sickle cell. On Sunday morning we will have an advocacy training course to jumpstart those interested in community activism. These are just some of the many programs we have planned for the long weekend.

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Registration for the Gathering is $125.00 per adult, regardless of participation.However, if you want to save this early bird rate, pre-register with $25.00 now to show intent, and pay the rest anytime until June 30th. General admission rate will increase to $150.00 on June 1st. Children under 12 are $75.00 if accompanied by a registered adult. Young adults 13-21 are $100. Registration allows us to provide a daily breakfast buffet, lunch on Friday, and the ticket price for the Saturday full-plated dinner banquet. It also includes an all access MARTA pass (public transportation) for those staying at the hotel to explore Atlanta. Hotel, travel, and incidental costs are at your own expense. If you cannot make it for the entire weekend and would like to attend only part of the program, please contact us for an amended rate.

We do have vendor tables and displays available on all days. Contact us directly for the rates. To learn more about the Gathering, please visit http://sicklecellwarriors.com/event-registration or email events@sicklecellwarriors.com. To book your hotel, use the code SIC from the DoubleTree site or CLICK HERE.

If finances are a concern, feel free to share this invitation with your friends, family, and networks, and express to them your personal need to attend the Gathering for your own enrichment, support, education, and encouragement. Many members have started successful crowdsourcing campaigns and raised necessary funds. Budget how much it would cost (hotel, travel, registration, incidentals), tally up the total, then create a page on Go Fund Me like this: http://www.gofundme.com/7frleg. Share the link via email and social media among your friends, colleagues and family. Several people pitching in five or ten dollars will help you reach your goal. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask.

If you cannot attend, consider sponsoring someone via a donation toward registration for another warrior or family. Or make a donation directly to Sickle Cell Warriors, Inc. by visiting http://sicklecellwarriors.com/donate/

Please feel free to share the attached flyer with your community and networks. This program was designed by the sickle cell community for the sickle cell community, and is directly focused on supporting warriors (patients), and their families in the fight against sickle cell disease.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at this year’s Gathering!

Tosin Ola & Lakiea Bailey

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About Author

Sickle Cell Warrior

Sickle Cell Warrior

Tosin is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sickle cell. Although sickle cell is a subject often taboo in the communities this condition is most prevalent, Tosin's message is that sickle cell is not something to be ashamed of and you can live a rich and fulfilling life with sickle cell. Sickle cell warriors are the most amazing people in the world, with a great fortitude for compassion, willpower and strength.

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