Noah’s Ark Foundation for Sickle Cell To Host Red Umbrella Walk for Sickle Cell Disease Awareness on Saturday

Posted on June 18, 2024

Esangbedo Osasele, Convener of The Red Umbrella Walk and Founder of Noah’s Ark Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease

To create much-needed awareness as well as to get all informed and involved in sickle cell education, treatment, advocacy, and volunteering, the Noah’s Ark Foundation for Sickle Cell, a Non-Governmental Organization based in Lagos and dedicated to the awareness of Sickle Cell Education in Nigeria is organizing an event titled “The Red Umbrella Walk’, slated for Saturday, the 22 June 2024.

The program, which will start at 8 a.m. prompt at No 30 Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1,  Lagos State, Nigeria, will have in attendance many dignitaries from all walks of life.

In a chat with our Correspondent, the Programs Manager, Nwakaego Joan Uwaka, who is also a passionate advocate, and one of the leading voices in Sickle Cell Advocacy in Nigeria, revealed that the Red Umbrella Walk is an advocacy event to mark the World Sickle Cell Day.

She said: “The Red Umbrella Walk is not just an event designed to mark World Sickle Cell Day, it’s also an avenue to raise awareness for Sickle Cell Disease otherwise known as SCD. We are also using the opportunity to advocate for the improvement in the lives affected by it; taking action to promote changes that will have positive impacts.

“To those asking for the meaning or symbol of the Red Umbrella, it’s the symbol associated with Sickle Cell awareness and campaigns. The colour red symbolizes the red blood cells that are usually affected by the disease, while the red Umbrella represents a shield and protection from the pain crises usually experienced by Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) sufferers”

Programs Manager, Nwakaego Joan Uwaka

Believing there is strength in numbers, Nwakaego opined further that the Red Umbrella Walk is not just for those living with SCD alone, it is also for others who share in their plights and would like to give them a shoulder to lean on.

“This Red Umbrella Walk is for all and sundry. It is open to those who are willing to give us support, either morally, emotionally or financially. This is a disease that affects millions of people globally. We are calling on those affected by it to come out; we are seeking the support of the media, and the medical professionals; we are also calling on all stakeholders irrespective of their status to join us as we strive for hope and inspiration to forge ahead in our collective efforts. What we are seeking is the avenue to create a purposeful awareness by educating each other ” Nwakaego concluded.

Adding her voice, beautiful and soft-spoken Esangbedo Osasele who is the Convener and Founder of Noah’s Ark Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease said that the major aim of the event is to shed more light on Sickle Cell Disease and create awareness for proper information dissemination that can elongate the lives of those suffering from it; as well as letting their families know how to give supports during the crisis.

“The Red Umbrella Walk is a starting point for those who want to know about SCD, it’s another opportunity for the sufferers to know about the medical updates, and it’s also an avenue for the non-governmental organisations, Volunteers, and other stakeholders to network together. It’s even an abode for the Government to hear more about us and proffer ways to ameliorate our pains. There is going to be lots of fun amidst educational talk” Osasele enthused.

Continuing, Osasele who herself is a Sickle Cell Warrior went further to throw more lights as the interview drew to an end.

“The Red Umbrella Walk will not just help to educate the public about SCD, its effects and the need for support and research, it will also bring together individuals and families affected by it thereby creating a sense of community and connection. It’s a collective work and this is why we are putting a strong emphasis on awareness and campaigns,” She concluded

According to information gathered on Google, about 50 million people are living with SCD globally, and Nigeria is the epicentre zone, with about 4-6 million people living with the disease. One in every four Nigerians has a sickle cell trait.  Annually, about 300,000 newly diagnosed SCD children are born worldwide.

The Red Umbrella Walk symbolizes protection, support, and hope for those living with sickle cell disease.

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