I first met Dr. Lakiea Bailey when she came to my office for help with building a website for her organization, the Sickle Cell Community Consortium. I remember it clearly, because she arrived at my door dragging an oxygen tank behind her.
We spent hours talking about the website she needed, despite the fact that she was clearly very ill that day; yet no matter how many times I asked about her ability to finish the work session, she insisted we continue until the work we were there to do that day was done. That’s Dr. Bailey.
She was only 5 when she experienced the first sickle cell crisis that landed her in a hospital, and since then she’s endured hundreds of hospitalizations, blood transfusions, and surgical procedures. Yet she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, a doctorate in molecular hematology and regenerative medicine, and then to form an organization that provides support and resources for people around the world who are also afflicted with sickle cell disease.
Dr. Bailey is a hero in the sickle cell community, and has been for many years. She regularly battles through her own medical challenges to represent her organization, patients, and caregivers by testifying before legislators in Washington, and speaking at events and conferences of all kinds.
Now, she’s in need of help.
Dr. Bailey is preparing for a bone marrow transplant. There is a procedure that through a year-long process, can actually cure her of sickle cell disease. It requires a match to a donor, which she has, but will also require her to pay out a great deal of money for living and other expenses related to the procedure. As part of the process, she will need an around-the-clock caretaker. She will also need to relocate in order to be close enough to the transplant center where she will spend the year undergoing treatment. I learned all this when she called me a few weeks ago to ask me if I had any ideas on how she could raise the money.
The sickle cell community needs her – to spread the word about the disease, to challenge the false information and misconceptions about its victims, and to continue to confront all the challenges patients and their caregivers face. They need her healthy in order to fight for them, so I’m asking for help, so that she can get what she needs. She’s become a friend, and watching her work so tirelessly over these last few years to help so many people even as she’s had to progressively fight her own battle with sickle cell has been a major source of inspiration for me, and for many, many others, and so instead of holding a wedding, we’re going to try to use the event to raise the funds she needs to get through this procedure successfully.
Due to Covid, Dr. Bailey’s fundraiser has been put off again and again, so we’re going fully virtual. Please make a donation today. Thank you in advance for taking the time to learn about Dr. Bailey and for your generosity!
Patricia Wilson-Smith, CEO Online Media Interactive