Sickle cell families enjoy holiday luncheon

ST. PETERSBURG – The Enoch Davis Center was brimming with holiday joy when the board members of the Sickle Cell Association, St. Petersburg Chapter hosted earlier this month their free luncheon for families coping with the deadly disease.

Busara Pitts served as the Mistress of Ceremony and kept the program rolling smoothly. Dressed in festive attire, 88 people enjoyed gifts and entertainment. Xavier McKinney, the 2015-17 sickle cell poster child, brought the welcome, Mia Poole song her heart out and Arlee Steele said the prayer before everyone feasted on a hearty meal.

The program also included congregational Christmas carols and a dance performance by the Praise Expressions of Southside Tabernacle Baptist Church.  Nationally renowned balloon artist Mark “The Balloon Guy” Byrne dazzled the kids and adults with fantastic artistic creations using balloons to make personalized gifts.

After the meal, Jolly Old Santa Claus arrived bringing lots of cheer, excitement and applause.  He and his helpers quickly passed out presents while he stopped to take photos with many of the children. Remarks were made by event chair Ethel Moody, and reflections were given by Mary Murph, president and founder of the association. She also reminded the group of the next support group meeting Feb. 28, 2017, at the Enoch Davis Center.

For more information on Sickle Cell Disease, please contact Mr. Melvin Smith, Sickle Cell Coordinator at (727) 896-2355.

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