Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disease that mainly affects people of African, Latin American, Indian and Saudi Arabian heritage. The disease is characterized by painful periods called “crises,” which occur when red blood cells die prematurely and the body is unable to replace them quickly enough. The disease can make life difficult for sufferers, and organizations have created scholarship funds to assist in the financing of education for those in need.

Memorial Scholarships

Memorial scholarship programs are created in honor of a passed family member or friend. In the case of former University of North Carolina professor, Kermit Nash, a fund was created after his death in 1998. The Kermit B. Nash Academic Scholarship is administered by the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and gives $5,000 to graduating high school students suffering from sickle cell disease. Candidates must be US citizens with a 3.0 GPA or more. The money will be renewed every academic year.

State-Specific Scholarships

Certain organizations provide scholarships to residents of specific states such as the the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois (SCDAI). The organization assists candidates that are Illinois residents suffering from sickle cell disease. SCDAI partners with Kraft Foods and the Ronald McDonald’s Children Charities to provide the scholarship money to selected candidates. The amount given depends on the financial needs of the applicant. Another state-related scholarship program is that run by the Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association. The association’s Arthur D. Brown/David E. Pryor Scholarship Fund provides money to both part-time and full-time students suffering from sickle cell.

County-Specific Scholarships

There are scholarship programs that target residents of specific counties. One such program is the Scott Zuniga Memorial Scholarship Fund in California. It provides money to sickle cell sufferers that live in five counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura. Funds are administered by the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California, which requires that all applications be typed. Selected candidates must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA during the school year.

Professional Organizations

Sickle cell sufferers can take advantage of scholarship opportunities that are sponsored by professional organizations. The International Association of Sickle Cell Nurses and Physician Assistants (IASCNAPA) is a worldwide organization that offers financial support to selected applicants in the amount of $500 (as of 2010). Candidates must need the money for college or a post graduate degree. The final awardees will be selected on the basis of their school records, extracurricular activities and financial needs.

Scholarships for Children of Sickle Cell Parents

There are scholarship opportunities for individuals with parents that have sickle cell disease. The Jacqueline M. Kidd Foundation, for instance, provides money to children of sufferers who live with only one parent and have a GPA of 2.7 and above. Created by Ryan C. Greene in honor of his late mother, the foundation also donates money towards sickle cell research.

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