Darling Dash: The race to end sickle cell deaths; how disease is taking a toll on Black community

Briana Conner Image
Friday, February 23, 2024
Darling Dash: The race to end sickle cell deaths
The annual Darling Dash race by the As One Foundation is fighting to end sickle cell anemia, a painful and sometimes deadly disease.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Sickle cell anemia is a disease that occurs among about one out of every 365 Black or African-American births. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control, which has also documented a lot of recent success in comprehensive care and treatment.

However, sickle cell is still an extremely painful and sometimes deadly disease.

Dr. Tomia Austin is the executive director of the As One Foundation. It was formed following the death of Devaughn Darling. He and his twin brother, Devard, immigrated to Houston from the Bahamas when they were young and quickly became standout athletes.

They played football for Florida State University.

RELATED: Sickle cell trait: What every athlete needs to know

Former NFL player Devard Darling tells ABC13's Melanie Lawson he's fighting misconceptions about sickle cell trait in order to save more lives with his As One Foundation.

"Unfortunately, due to dehydration, physical overexertion, and complications as a sickle cell trait carrier-ultimately, the reason for the formation of the As One Foundation- Devaughn passed away during off season mat drills on February 26, 2001," the As One Foundation website states.

Shortly after, Devard began the foundation to educate the community about sickle cell.

The annual Darling Dash raises funds to support their efforts. The 10K, 5K, and 1K are scheduled for Sunday.

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