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Ryan’s Run returns to Baton Rouge to raise awareness about sickle cell disease

Published: Sep. 25, 2021 at 7:22 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2021 at 5:49 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The annual Ryan’s Run returned to downtown Baton Rouge on Saturday, Sept. 25.

People were running and walking again in downtown Baton Rouge for the first time in more than a year to raise awareness of sickle cell disease. It’s why folks like Kaylin Ricard were out with a group of friends remembering her loved ones.

“So, many people suffer with this disease and I also have personal friends who have had this disease and passed,” said Richard. “So, this is an opportunity to always support that and be a part of their memory.”

Sickle cell disease is a red blood disorder where there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Former LSU and NFL player Ryan Clark was diagnosed with the disease back in 2007 after a game. From that point, he wanted to use his story to educate the public and remind others they are not alone.

“When I see people, I see lives,” said Clark. “I see sickle cell patients. I see family members and I always put myself in the shoes of this could be a personal family, it could be a child or somebody you know.”

However, Sickle Cell Awareness Month is not just about remembering the loved ones people have lost. It’s also dedicated to honoring those who are still fighting the disease, like Gabriel Camel.

“My son was diagnosed at birth, like most children, and it’s very hard,” said Ronda Chub-Camel, his mother. “It takes effect on our whole family. The Sickle Cell Foundation has been very instrumental in assisting me and advocating for my child.”

The Sickle Cell Association of South Louisiana didn’t get to put on Ryan’s Walk/Run in person last year due to COVID. It’s why Camel and her son, Gabriel, are going all out this year, hoping more people will be aware of this disease.

In fact, Gabriel was one of the ambassadors for the event.

“I am so overjoyed that we were able to get out live and gather together with people we haven’t seen since the beginning of the pandemic,” added Camel.

About 3,000 children and adults in Louisiana are living with sickle cell. If you are interested in donating, you can visit the Sickle Cell Association’s website.

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