Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Former Mandeville resident gives back to sickle cell charity

Published:Monday | April 6, 2020 | 12:10 AMAubrey Campbell/Gleaner Writer
Tariq (bottom, right) and his family at his parent’s wedding anniversary celebration in NYC in 2019.
Tariq (bottom, right) and his family at his parent’s wedding anniversary celebration in NYC in 2019.

A RAY of hope was recently delivered to the Sickle Cell Support Foundation of Jamaica (SCFJ) in the form of a cheque donation from the Sattar family of New York, USA.

The donation represents proceeds from a global, online effort and will benefit the work of the foundation on behalf of children in Jamaica impacted by the disease, which, according to Camille Daley, affects one in every 150 babies born in Jamaica. Fifteen per cent of the population is at risk of having a child with sickle cell disease.

“We are very grateful to Mrs Sattar for her philanthropic GoFundMe efforts to pay it forward in honour of her son and his successful recovery from the bone marrow transplant surgery. It was a wonderful initiative and we greatly appreciate her generous donation, which will go a far way in improving the lives of sickle cell patients in Jamaica,” Daley said.

In a heartfelt note of thanks, Daley, who co-founded the SCSFJ, a non-profit voluntary organisation, nearly three decades ago, said the organisation will continue to support patients and families, heighten public awareness of the disease, while promoting self-reliance among affected families.

Tricia Sattar (nee White), migrated to New York more than 20 years ago. She lived in Mandeville, Manchester, and attended Bishop Gibson High School.

BLOOD DISORDER

Sattar is married with three children – two boys and a girl. Her second child, Tariq, was born with sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that causes severe pain, fatigue, and anemia.

The gene for sickle cell anemia is inherited from both parents for the illness to occur in children, and a bone marrow transplant is the only cure for this disease at the moment.

No one in Tariq’s family was a match, so his parents put his name in the blood bank and in December 2017, they received news that a match was found in Germany. In January 2018, Tariq had a successful bone marrow transplant and was cured of his sickle cell disease.

Thankfully, today Tariq is healthy and happy, and life is back to normal! He is an honor student in junior high school, plays competitive basketball, piano, and violin. Tariq collaborates with the Sickle Cell Awareness Foundation Corp International, and attends events in New York to bring awareness to sickle cell disease and the bone marrow transplant process. He enjoys attending sickle cell events to talk about his experiences.

To pay it forward, Tariq’s family decided to create a GoFundMe page and collected over US$3,000 on behalf of the Sickle Cell Support Foundation of Jamaica.

Support for the initiative was heartening and included many persons from Jamaica and abroad. They hope the donation will help other children in Jamaica with medicine and other assistance to improve their lives.