“A strong and barely controlled emotion”; this is the definition of the word Passion. This word “Passion” is the reason I made the decision to start my nonprofit organization, “Sickle International Family Coalition”. Many other nonprofits have been founded on that very word. People create nonprofits because they want to see change.
Nonprofits are vital to our communities in ways businesses and government are not. Many nonprofits are so eager to bring about change, that they will fight for changes even when there is no funding available. Creating a nonprofit has several great benefits, but the two that stand out to me are:
- You get to work on issues that really makes a difference in the lives of people, and
- It’s an opportunity to provide a much-needed service.
There’s no greater reward than making a difference in the lives of people who really need the help.
Sickle International Family Coalition (SIFC) will be a bridge between the sickle cell community here in the United States and the sickle cell community in other countries. Often growing up, I would dread the fact that I had to live with such a painful, unpredictable disease. I often asked the question, why me?
After educating myself about Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and meeting people and families living with SCD in other countries, I quickly began to understand that there is always someone worse off than you/me. I stopped asking the question “why” and began developing a spirit of gratitude. I learned that 50% of babies born in some parts of Africa die before the age of 5; I also discovered that people in Africa stigmatize SCD by calling the disease a curse and that kids living with the disease are often discouraged from attending school with kids who are healthy. Another major issue is the lack of misunderstanding of the disease from their families, and more importantly, the medical community.
Thus the need for nonprofit organizations, which really focus on the disparities while dispelling the myths and stigmas of this invisible disease. The United States is often looked to as a leader by many other countries. The purpose of starting an International nonprofit like SIFC is to use its many resources to improve care in those countries where the SCD community suffers in silence.
It’s cool to change your community, however, SIFC wants to change the World of SCD. We won’t feel our job is done until the world knows SCD like they know cancer. So if you have a burning PASSION inside of you, don’t look around for others to make change when you can.
Nonprofits are truly VEHICLES of CHANGE!
Dominique Friend is an activist for Sickle Cell Disease awareness (SCD) and research who currently resides in Atlanta GA, but who grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and attended Baltimore City Public Schools. She is a wife, the mother of five wonderful children and has two beautiful granddaughters. Although her illness prevented her from graduating high school, she obtained her GED and then completed post-secondary courses in Creative Writing. Now a published author, Dominique has captured the essence of her daily struggles with the unpredictability and pain of Sickle Cell Disease in her autobiography, SICKLE, A Story of Pain, Purpose, and Perseverance. Dominique’s story was written in another book entitled Uncommon Challenges; Shared Journeys. She has become an activist who is raising awareness of Sickle Cell Disease and advocating for improved treatment for people living with Sickle Cell Disease. She is the founder of the Sickle International Family Coalition, an international network of families, individuals and organizations.