The Lydia Smith Sickle Cell Foundation hosted a private media reception at Chicago’s Nella La Stanza Wine Bar where an intimate group of sponsors and supporters of the foundation gathered to launch the organization’s upcoming fundraisers in the summer. Founded by former NFL linebacker, Robert L. Mackey, the foundation was named after the football player’s Mom, Lydia Smith who was diagnosed with sickle cell in 1994 and given a life-expectancy of 7 years. Twenty years later, Mrs. Smith is celebrating survivorship through education, care and strength.

LSSCF’s mission is to make sure families have access to needed education and quality of life services that extend and enhance the lives of their loved ones suffering with this disease. Sickle cell anemia is the most common form of sickle-cell disease. SCD is a serious disorder in which the body makes sickle-shaped red blood cells. The disease has no cure and treatments to improve the anemia and lower complications can help with the symptoms and complications of the disease in both children and adults.

Guests included the organization’s representatives and medical partners; Dr. Lewis L. Hsu- Director/Pediatric Sickle Cell Program, Bonnye Johnson, MS, RN-University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, Tarri S. Strickland, MA-University of Illinois at Chicago Urban Health Program, Shonda King-UIC Sickle Cell Program and Dr. Robert Liem- Lurie’s Children’s Hospital.

Sickle cell patient, Ronisha Edwards addressed attendees with her moving story of the importance of organizations such as LSSCF in her continued challenges fighting the disease. Health Education and Outreach Coordinator, Bonnye Johnson from the University of Illinois spoke passionately about the red tape of administrative policies that families are faced with Illinois state budgets looming and threatening to be cut by July 1st if assistance programs are not renewed. This could have detrimental consequences for many families in need of medical attention and support.

Since LSSCF was established in June 2011, they have hosted several fundraisers raising thousands of dollars to educate, advocate and assist families facing financial challenges while receiving treatment.

Upcoming Events:

June 29th- LSSCF’s “Drive 4 A Cure” Presented by Citizens Law Group, BMW USA and iLoan Home Mortgage

Chicago Highlands Golf Club in Westchester, IL

July 18th- LSSCF’s “Spike 4 A Cure” Casino Classic 2015 Co-ed Beach Volleyball and Casino Classic Presented by MINI BMW

To purchase tickets and more information: