Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited blood disorder that can cause several health-related complications including episodes of extreme pain, strokes, organ failure, bone damage, increased infections and delayed growth. The Bridges Pointe Foundation was organized by staff and volunteers of the Duke Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center to establish a residential program with social support services for young adults living with the disease. Well into its sixth year, the foundation seeks to develop affordable shelter, case management, computer training, psychosocial intervention, self-care, health education and wellness. Though the program has received grants from city and county government offices, and formed partnerships with organizations such as the Health Department and Durham Land Trust, there is still much to be desired in the way of funding and support. "We're at a crawling stage," says Mary Abrams, social worker for the Sickle Cell Program. "There has been a positive response, but we need to broaden that."
To raise awareness and financial support for the foundation, the third annual Evening of Hope 2002 will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21. The celebration includes a vendor market, art auction and exhibition. An evening banquet, hosted by N.C. state Senator Jeanne Lucas, honors individuals and organizations that have supported the Bridges Pointe Foundation. Ultimately, organizers hope the celebration will not only entertain, but educate. "Educational awareness is a big goal for us. We need to tune people in to what sickle cell is all about and how we're trying to help people with this disease." Evening of Hope 2002 events will be held from 4-9:30 p.m. at the Searle Center, Duke West Campus. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact Mary Abrams firstname.lastname@example.org or Elaine Whitworth email@example.com. You may also call the program office at 684-6464 or visit www.bridgespointe.org. -olufunke moses