Motorcyclists Raise Money for Sickle Cell Association - WSET.com - ABC13

Motorcyclists Raise Money for Sickle Cell Association

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Reporter: Melinda Zosh

Lynchburg, VA - Some motorcyclists from out of town came to the Jubilee Center on Saturday. They're with a national group called The Free Rollers.

Their stop in Lynchburg is an annual fundraiser for the local Sickle Cell Anemia Association.

The ride is really close to home for two brothers, Tim and Tony Stratton, who are from New Jersey. They have family here and they felt a need to help those suffering from sickle cell anemia in Lynchburg.

Nine years ago, 50 free rollers first set off with just their bikes and $5,000. The Free Rollers came from several different states.

"Dover, Philly, all over the place," said Tim Stratton.

They came for a cause close to their hearts.

"When we first got here we saw people that were sick and couldn't even get to the hospital," said Tony Stratton.

So they stepped in to help those fighting the disease Sickle Cell Anemia. It's a blood disease that affects mainly the African American community.

Most patients with it have painful episodes which can last from hours to days. In fact, one out of every 500 African Americans is born with Sickle Cell Disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Vinetta Poindexter's son Jermale was diagnosed at 2 weeks old.

"He was at the hospital two weeks ago at UVA for about six days, and it's just because he had a virus but it takes a little more toll on his body," said Poindexter.

Mary Cundiff is great-grandmother to six-year-old Jermale.

"I wasn't aware of this disease until he was born with it and so many times when they run temperatures the doctors say to them get them to Charlottesville as quick as possible," said Cundiff.

Cundiff volunteers with a local Sickle Cell Anemia Association. The group helps patients pay for things, even gas money for hospital trips. The Free Rollers help make it happen.

"People in the city, the surrounding city don't even have transportation to get to the facility to get help. That's where we come in," said Tony Stratton.

The Free Rollers raised $1,000 this year. They're hoping for a bigger turnout for the 10th annual ride next year.

You can help the local Sickle Cell Association as well with their own fundraiser. It is scheduled for June 30 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jubilee Center. There will be a yard sale, auction and baked goods for sale. 

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