NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A family in Wilmington is fighting back, battling a disease that took their daughter's life.
Jassmine Raynor was a teenager at Laney High School when she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. After a long battle, she passed away two years ago. She was only a freshman in college.
Now, her family is taking action by organizing events around the community to raise awareness.
Hundreds of folks turned out to Laney High School for a basketball tournament on Saturday in memory of Jassmine Raynor.
After her death in December of 2011, her family started the Jassmine Maynor Memorial Foundation to raise money for sickle cell awareness.
Her mother, Chawana Moore wants to keep other families from having to go through the pain of losing a child.
"A lot of people don't know it's a blood disorder," said Moore. "We want to make sure that people are aware that this can happen and can happen to other families in our area."
To make sure that it doesn't happen to someone else, they brought in a sickle cell expert to set up a booth at the tournament and educate people about the disease. Sheresa Walker-Brown with the health department says a lot of facts about the disease may be surprising. "People who want to have kids, it's important that you understand your genetic inheritance," said Walker-Brown. "If they have the (sickle cell) trait and meet someone else with the trait, that opens up a whole can of worms."
Proceeds from the tournament go to the foundation. Moore says the players can keep playing while she will keep praying – just like her daughter Jassmine would prefer.
"She never let sickle cell get her down," said Moore. "She always wanted to help others so that was one of our main inspirations of why we wanted to start a foundation and to keep her memory going."
The Moore family will dedicate $500 a year for a scholarship in Jassmine's name. They hope that Laney students will use that as motivation to learn more and go to college to study how to fight back against sickle cell disease.
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