Santonio Holmes established The III & Long Foundation in the fall of 2011 in honor of his son, Santonio III, who suffers from Sickle Cell Disease. Knowing first-hand the difficulties families face battling this disease, Santonio believes he is meant to lead the crusade against Sickle Cell Disease to ultimately find a cure.

The term “sickle cell disease” refers to a group of inherited blood disorders. People have sickle cell disease from birth and it occurs when a person inherits a sickle cell gene from each parent. It primarily affects those of African ancestry, but can also affect those of Hispanic, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian descent.

Sickle cell disease affects hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. This inherited blood disorder causes the body to produce abnormal hemoglobin, causing the red blood cells to develop the sickle, or crescent, shape associated with the disease.

Sickle cells are rigid and sticky. They become lodged in blood vessels, which blocks proper blood flow resulting in serious complications.

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