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Memphis Grizzles Point Guard Mike Conley announced a half million dollar donation to support the Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. Conley has been a supporter of the Center for nearly a decade through his annual fundraising event, the Mike Conley Bowl N Bash, as well as ongoing personal contributions.
“It is an honor and privilege to be able to be in a position to utilize my platform as a professional athlete to support the lives of others,” said Conley. “Sickle cell disease has personally affected my family. I felt it was only right for me to get involved with Methodist Healthcare to see how I could create more awareness and make a positive impact on people suffering with this disease.”
With this transformational gift, Conley and his wife Mary have contributed and helped raise over $1 million to support Methodist in delivering innovative, comprehensive care and developing new treatments for patients with sickle cell in the Mid-South.
“It’s our hope that this donation will allow Methodist the ability to continue to provide the best medical care available for patients living with sickle cell disease in the Mid-South for years to come," added Conley.
In recognition of this commitment and generosity, the Center’s clinic space will now be named The Mike and Mary Conley Comprehensive Sickle Cell Clinic.
“We appreciate Mike’s continued passion for the Center and his willingness to increase awareness of sickle cell disease,” said Paula Jacobson, president of the Methodist Healthcare Foundation. “With his most thoughtful and generous gift, we will be able to expand clinical and social care resources for our patients and their families while pursing advances in care and curative treatments through research.”
UNINTERRUPTED, the athlete empowerment brand founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, produced a video to document Mike Conley’s involvement with and dedication to sickle cell care. The video shows his personal connection to the disease and documents the moment where he announces his donation to patients at Methodist Healthcare.
Over 100,000 Americans are affected by sickle cell disease and Memphis has one of the largest populations of individuals living with sickle cell disease in the country.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that causes abnormally shaped hemoglobin to form in red blood cells resulting in the slowing or prevention of regular blood flow. Patients with sickle cell disease experience symptoms and complications, including pain, anemia, infection, leg ulcers, stroke, jaundice, acute chest syndrome, organ damage and blindness. Sickle cell disease is a life‐long disease that affects every aspect of patients’ lives‐ creating challenges in their education, social life, career as well as emotional, spiritual and physical health.
Inspired by the health challenges of his two cousins living with sickle cell disease, Conley partnered with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in 2011 to create a dedicated medical environment to meet the needs of these patients.
The Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center opened in 2012 and is located at Methodist University Hospital.