The Crescent Cell
Awareness. Strength. Hope.
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
June 19, 2017
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Start-Up (first few activities have happened)
1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Although sickle cell is the most common blood disorder in the United States, affecting over 100,000 people, both awareness and treatment options are heavily lacking. In addition to severe pain, body damage, and often a shortened life span, those with sickle cell are also at risk for psychological challenges, including anxiety and depression. These challenges further exacerbate the effects of the disease and use of medical services.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
The mission of our project is to increase awareness and support for sickle cell disease among young people. We believe that youth and community engagement can create the impact needed to end the sickle cell cycle. As a result, we plan to raise awareness by educating adolescents and young adults on what sickle cell is and how it is genetically passed on through presentations by outreaching local schools. Visited students will be encouraged to get involved by sharing sickle cell on social media, volunteering, or donating blood/bone marrow. We also plan to raise support for pediatric sickle cell patients by distributing coping kits at local hospitals. The kits will have research backed items shown to combat pain, isolation, and stress. The Crescent Cell will host a workshop with patients and families to teach how the kits may be used. Project funds needed are planned be collected through grants and fundraising initiatives.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
The Crescent Cell visits a local high school to present sickle cell to a health class. At the end, students are given ways they can get involved ranging from instant to long term commitments. A student, Crystal, approaches after class to see how she can get more involved. The Crescent Cell emails her a survey asking about her skills and interests. Crystal is very involved in school. She becomes her school’s sickle cell student leader and helps to organize a dress down day in support of funding for the disease. The funding is used to purchase coping kits for patients at the local children’s hospital, which Crystal helps to distribute.
5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
The Crescent Cell’s approach differs from other programs, because it uses a community based youth-centered approach. Although meaning well, existing sickle cell groups often focus on those of adult age who are already sickle cell patients. The Crescent Cell incorporates the genetic and prevention aspects of sickle cell by targeting youth who are often unfamiliar with the disease and whether they can pass it on. In addition, pediatric patients who may be overlooked are given the chance to be involved and to have their voices shared.
6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
So far we have hosted a social media awareness campaign and have visited two local schools. The social media campaign was called “Faces of Sickle Cell Strength”. It shared 70 days of stories from patients, families, researches, healthcare professionals, and advocates around the United States who wanted to share their experience around sickle cell. The posts reached over 20,000 people. We have also presented at two schools where we spoke with 70 students. We are presenting at our first health fair on June 1st, 2018.
7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
In the next year we hope to expand our impact. We have met our goal of visiting one school this year to speak to at least 20 students. We hope to be able to present at three schools in the next year. We are still trying to raise enough funding to meet our support goal of distributing 24 coping kits to kids in the children’s hospital. If we meet the goal by the end of the year then we plan to increase the coping kits given out in 2019. Depending on funding, we may begin to broaden the number of hospitals partnerships so that the kits are given to more patients who need them.
8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?
We have been able to mobilize support through schools and the local children’s hospital. We were recently awarded a grant for our school outreach initiative and program expenses. As a result, we have a website and the potential to get more materials. Our main resources needed are funding and further student involvement. We would especially like to increase the amount of collaboration that we do with hospitals, but more money is needed to do so.
9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations between $1k-$5k
10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.
We are currently working with family, local schools, and local pediatric hospitals. We would love to partner with other youth based and/or health focused projects. It would be great to be able to expand sickle cell awareness and support on a national to global scale. In addition, we would like to help support other projects to influence positive social change.
How did you hear about this challenge?