VIRGINIA BEACH - For 40 years, the Sickle Cell Association of Hampton Roads has raised money to provide services and information for people battling the disease.

In Virginia, approximately 1 in 325 African Americans suffer with SCD and one in every 1100 to 1400 Hispanics, far higher than the national average.

Between 70,000 and 100,000 people in the USA suffer with Sickle Cell Disease of which around 4,000 are in Virginia. Over 2,000,000 people in the USA have Sickle Cell Trait and approximately 155,000 are in Virginia.

Executive Director Judy Anderson says there's a bigger need than ever for funds because major funding for the agency has ceased. Money is needed to help with basic expenses and medical bills.

She expressed concern about the growing apathy about the disease since it disproportionately affects a minority population. There is much to be done for the population that is growing older and suffering from Sickle Cell Disease. All support to the cause stays in the community to help patients with the many critical needs.

The Sickle Cell Association's Black Tie Gala is Saturday, November 10 at the Wyndham Oceanfront Hotel, 5700 Atlantic Avenue. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person.

Nationally, Sickle Cell Disease affects approximately 1 in 500 African Americans, making it the most common long term illness identified in this population.

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