MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The 6th Annual St. Jude National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Call to Service reception was held last night to honor the National Pan-Hellenic Council and its Divine Nine partners along with The Links Foundation, Incorporated.

Both organizations have been steadfast in supporting programs and initiatives related to sickle cell disease at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.

St. Jude was named the recipient of the $1 million Legacy Grant from The Links Foundation Inc., the philanthropic arm of The Links, Incorporated®, one of the nation’s oldest and largest African-American women’s volunteer service organizations.

The Legacy Grant will support expansion of three St. Jude clinical efforts, including studies of cognitive deficits in children with sickle cell disease, the development of a health-worker education program aimed at saving babies in Nigeria and an age-appropriate mobile app to help patients develop self-care and disease literacy.

Sickle cell disease affects about one in 365 African-Americans, but is most common among people of African, Hispanic, Mediterranean and Native American descent. St. Jude has one of the largest sickle cell disease programs in the country treating 850 – 900 patients annually, and has been involved in the research and treatment of the inherited disease since the hospital first opened.

“It is a true honor to gift St. Jude with this $1 million Legacy Grant that we know will support their groundbreaking research and care for those suffering with sickle cell disease,” said Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, Ph.D., National President of The Links, Incorporated.” Our organization is committed to transforming communities and fulfilling our purpose. By working with partners like St. Jude toward a common goal of caring for those who need it most, we are truly serving our mission.”

Collectively, NPHC partners have raised more than $3.5 million dollars to support the St. Jude mission of Finding Cures. Saving Children.® For the eighth consecutive year, Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated® has joined forces with the children’s research hospital to build upon its Five-Point Programmatic Thrust of economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, and political awareness and involvement.

“The power of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. is the legacy we leave behind and there is nothing more important than our future,” said Beverly E. Smith, National President and CEO of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. “Working with St. Jude is so important to us and we have so much to offer. It is essential to our members to build upon the legacy we have created with St. Jude and that means continuing to grow our commitment, talent and time. We’re committed. Now it’s time to grow our talent and time and how we make effective change for such an important cause.”

The Call to Service reception coincided with the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference, one of the largest annual gatherings of African-American professionals. St. Jude Ambassador Raheem DeVaughn, a noted singer and songwriter, provided entertainment.

Another special guest in attendance was St. Jude patient and aspiring meteorologist Dallas, 11, who is currently undergoing treatment for familiar adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Gardner syndrome. Like all patients at St. Jude, Dallas and his family will never receive a bill for the cost of treatment, travel, housing or food.

More than 400 representatives from the NPHC Divine Nine attended the reception, which is comprised of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.

Learn more about sickle cell disease