San Francisco Chronicle March 2, 2013
In honor of Black History Month, the Omidi brothers and their non-profit Civic Duty are lending support to the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California. In the United States, about one in 500 African Americans are born with the disease every year.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) March 2, 2013
This February in honor of Black History Month, Michael Omidi, MD and Julian Omidi, co-founders of Civic Duty are asking others to join them in the support of the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California. Sickle Cell Disease is the world’s most common genetic disease, affecting millions of people globally, with a majority being of African American descent. The Foundation has waged a battle against the spread of Sickle Cell Disease for more than 50 years, providing education and life-enhancing programs, increasing public awareness, and promoting medical research to ultimately find a cure.
“Sickle Cell Disease is a particularly devastating blood disorder that robs millions of children and adults of a happy, active life,” according to Dr. Michael Omidi, co-founder of the charity Civic Duty. “While the disease is now a global blight that affects a variety of ethnicities, its roots are firmly planted in Sub-Saharan Africa where three quarters of the world’s incidences are located. Sickle Cell Disease is still strongly linked to the African American community which makes the search for a cure particularly poignant this month.”
According to the National Institute of Health, in the United States Sickle Cell Disease affects approximately 1 in 5,000 people. About 1 out of 500 African-American children and 1 out of 36,000 Hispanic-American infants are born with the disease. It is estimated that a total of 2,000 babies are born each year the disease and more than 90,000 Americans in total suffer. People with ancestors from Africa, India, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and some Latin American countries are most likely to inherit the gene that can cause sickle cell disease.
Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited blood disease that causes severe pain, damages vital organs and for some, ends in death. The disease affects the oxygen-carrying proteins inside red blood cells, distorting them from their normal round shape into a rigid, sickled form. These sickled cells do not pass easily through the body’s blood vessels and the impeded blood flow causes severe pain and damages organs and tissues. There is currently no universal cure and only a few effective treatments have been identified for those suffering from the disease.
The Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California (http://www.scdfc.org) was founded in 1957 and is the first and oldest non-profit, social service, sickle cell disease organization in the United States. The foundation helps individuals with sickle cell disease and their families through educational and support programs and services that meet their physical, psycho-social and economic needs. With a growing population of individuals with sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait (a disease carrier that can be passed to children), the primary focus of the foundation is to educate, screen and counsel those persons at risk of having children with sickle cell disease and other hemoglobin disorders.
Black History Month is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Its beginnings go back to 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week”. In 1970 the United States government expanded the designation to the full month of February.
Civic Duty (http://www.civicduty.org) is dedicated to mankind’s search for meaning and promotes the values of its founders, philanthropists Julian Omidi and his brother Michael Omidi, MD. The charity’s mission is to inspire creative outreach, community service, and volunteerism through the stories of every-day people who are making an extraordinary difference in the world. Emulation of the great humanitarians of our world is a fervent desire of the founders. People such as Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow men.” Those interested in pursuing this type of greatness and impact, are invited to send a message using the website’s Contact Us function. More information about Civic Duty can be found on http://www.facebook.com/pages/Civic-Duty/231915443605051?fref=ts as well as Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter.