Sickle cell anemia has exacted a heavy toll on the siblings of Bennie J. Morris, Sr. He lost his oldest sister, Lola in 1993 when she was just 39-years-old. On Halloween in 2019, his youngest brother, Aaron died of sickle cell. His youngest sister, Elizabeth, also suffers from sickle cell anemia. She celebrated her 59th birthday on December 15.
“After Lola died in 1993, I promised myself I would do something to increase knowledge and awareness of sickle cell,” Morris said, “but then for a long time I didn’t do anything about it. All that time, I was thinking, you almost never see advertisements or public service announcements about sickle cell. After Aaron died, I came up with the name. I hope E’Loron will make a difference.”
E’Loron is a portmanteau, a blend of words in which parts of multiple words are combined into a new word. In this case E’Loron is a blend of Elizabeth, Lola and Aaron. The organization held its first meeting on January 24. The group hopes to hold fundraising events and use the proceeds to raise awareness about sickle cell anemia through television, radio, newspaper and billboards. Morris, a long-time member of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church and a community activist, is the president and founder. Sickle cell anemia is one of a group of disorders known as sickle cell disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“Sickle cell anemia is an inherited red blood cell disorder in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Normally, the flexible, round red blood cells move easily through blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. These rigid, sticky cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.” There is no cure, but with careful medical supervision, patients can manage their pain, avoid complications and some live many years after being diagnosed with the chronic disease.
Sickle cell anemia is not contagious. Most cases are diagnosed when the victim is still an infant. The disease is caused by a mutation in the gene the body uses to make hemoglobin, the iron-rich compound that makes blood red and enables red blood cells to carry oxygen from your lungs throughout your body. In sickle cell anemia, the abnormal hemoglobin causes red blood cells to become rigid, sticky and misshapen.
Sponsors of the new organization include: The Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper Printing & Publishing Company, the Beulah Family Homestead, State Farm Insurance: agent Leonard Cratic, Jr., The Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce: chairman Ruben Hopkins, Christian Fellowship Community Church: Pastor Carl Heard.
For more information on E’Loron #99 Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness Resource Center, Inc. call (833) 3EL-ORON (883-335-6766) or (414) 999-0060, or write to them at P.O. Box #11346, Shorewood,WI 53211 or Eloron1999@gmail. com.