Jefferson Awards honoree champions push for sickle cell awareness

By Judi Gatson

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Yvonne Donald always thought she would be a teacher.
These days, she's more of a crusader who educates everyone who will listen about sickle cell disease.

“The pain with sickle cell disease is real,” Yvonne said. “It's prevalent and it's persistent.” During presentations, you can hear Yvonne's passion for erasing the stigma of the painful, debilitating disease and replacing it with facts.

“One of the biggest myths is that it's isolated only to the African-American community,” Yvonne said. “Sickle cell disease can strike any ethnicity including Caucasians."

Under her leadership, the annual Sickle Cell Walk has grown every year while raising money and awareness. As Deputy Director of the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation, this is more than just a job for Yvonne. It's her ministry and she's determined to make sure others understand it, too.