Northport Instructor Fulfills Daughter’s Legacy of Sickle Cell Awareness

It is with great pleasure that Northport hosted Yvonne Meyerson, Philanthropic Advisor for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in the media center recently. Students have been learning all about Sickle Cell disease and how prevalent the disease is within our own community. The “Project Tough Kookie” program was initiated at Northport two years ago by Marie Solide, ESE instructor, who lost her daughter Kookie following a long battle with Sickle Cell Disease. Students have learned that one in every ten African Americans has a sickle cell trait and one in every one hundred Hispanics carry the trait. In the United States, approximately 100,000 people have Sickle Cell disease and 2 million people have the sickle cell trait. Twenty-five years ago, a person with Sickle Cell disease was not expected to live to adulthood and the life span was 21 years of age. Today, the outlook is much more optimistic and many people are living beyond the age of 50.

Students in Mary Ellsworth’s seventh grade Civics class decided that this year their Project Citizen research should be about Sickle Cell disease. The students’ project, entitled “Bring Order to Disorder” was showcased at the SLPS district-wide Project Citizen event.

Mrs. Solide and her friend and co-worker, Northport Instructor Christina Davis, have been working diligently to educate our students about the disease and have held a “Sickle Cell Walk” in Tradition and several other fundraisers for the cause. All funds raised through “Project Tough Kookie” and the Tough Kookie Foundation will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital for medical research.

Students from Mrs. Ellsworth’s class are so interested that they have written letters to the Northport media center to purchase a book titled, My Brother Has Sickle Cell by Dr. Erica D. Gamble. Students sent the ISBN # which is 978-1-49186-929-1. Northport student, Gladine Laguerre said, “Please purchase this book for our library. Not only do we want even more information about Sickle Cell, but a book is like a journey into a different world which is what I want to experience. I want to feel what the character’s brother felt.” Marie Solide will be spearheading her next fundraiser for “Project Tough Kookie” on April 23 at Saint James Hall on Airoso Blvd in Port Saint Lucie from 8:00 pm until midnight. The cost is $30 and will include terrific multicultural food, music, and drinks.

Please join Marie and Tough Kookie Foundation for a culturally diverse fundraiser for a terrific cause. Thank you to the Tough Kookie Foundation for fulfilling your daughter’s legacy and bringing awareness to the students of Northport K-8 School and for helping to further research at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Author: LYNNE Gruszka

Northport K-8 School Media and Marketing Specialist