Health Science Center faculty and staff hold volleyball fundraiser for sickle cell patients

WHAT: A volleyball tournament at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio to raise funds and send young patients to Camp Cell-A-Bration, a camp for children ages 6-14 with sickle cell disease, held at Camp For All near Brenham.

WHEN: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24

WHERE: UT Health Science Center volleyball courts, off Merton Minter Boulevard (enter at 7703 Floyd Curl and ask directions at guard station)

WHAT IS SICKLE CELL DISEASE?: Sickle-cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that is diagnosed by newborn screening and can cause unpredictable episodes of severe pain, increased risk of infections and stroke, among other things, in young patients.

Generally speaking, the normally round red blood cells change into a “sickle” shape that do not flow well through the smaller parts of the body’s circulatory system.

“Growing young bones need lots of good blood flow,” said Melissa Frei-Jones, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center. Sickle-cell disease can cause bone damage, but it can also damage the spleen, kidneys and lungs, among other areas. Treatments have improved, and many sickle cell patients now live into their 40s and even 50s, but currently there is no cure.

Camp Cell-A-Bration allows young patients the chance to do “normal” things by providing special accommodations, such as a heated pool. It also allows them to interact with other children living with the same condition. “Some of our patients do not know anyone else who is affected by sickle cell disease, which can make them feel isolated and lonely,” Dr. Frei-Jones said. “This camp gives them a chance to know peers who understand what they’re going through.”


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving U.S. federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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