By Brandon J. Wallace
According to Medical News Today, sickle cell anemia is the most common blood disorder in the United States. It affects almost 100,000 Americans, including former Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XLIII Champion, Ryan Clark. Many of you will remember Clark missing a game back in 2012 against the Denver Broncos.
This disease most commonly affects African-Americans and causes irregularly shaped red blood cells which can slow the flow of oxygen in parts of the human body. This illness has strongly resonated with another Steelers Super Bowl Champion and former XLIII MVP, Santonio Holmes. His son, Santonio “TJ” Holmes III started carrying symptoms of the disease at an early age.
So what can be done? Proper vitamins, narcotics, and blood transfusions are a start. Holmes has since built the III & Long Foundation to help educate the public and provide more solutions to this growing problem. The III & Long Foundation works directly with local sickle cell organizations to further awareness and support families in need.
None of us could have predicted the degree of difficulty of Holmes’ game-winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII in the back of the end zone; but one thing is for sure, Holmes’ continued efforts to strive for greatness hasn’t stopped. Life is much more than football, and Holmes’ example of service and positivity shouldn’t go unnoticed.
For more information, please visit thirdandlongfoundation.org.