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Be Sickle Cell Smart: Ruben Studdard Joins National Awareness Campaign


Be Sickle Cell Smart: Ruben Studdard Joins National Awareness Campaign

By Will Dawson

It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years since Ruben Studdard captured the nation’s heart en route to winning the second season of television’s American Idol. Indeed, it wasn’t easy for the Birmingham native, who used his lovable teddy bear persona and winning smile, and of course his powerhouse voice to overcome fierce competition from both Clay Aiken and Kimberley Locke and win what was then the ultimate singing showcase. He proved during those sixteen weeks, and over the years since, that he is a fighter.

 Some things never change.

 Today, Studdard is helping others to fight by lending his voice to the efforts of “Be Sickle Smart,” a national grassroots health education program aimed at increasing awareness of iron overload among people living with sickle cell disease. Not only is he a spokesperson, his original song “I’m A Fighter” is the official song for the campaign.

 Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder that, according to the National Institutes of Health, primarily affects African Americans from childhood.

 John Jackson co-wrote the song with Ruben, penning it from the perspective of one infected with the disease, with strong lyrics that highlight the need to fight: I might get down/But don’t count me out/I’m in a title bout/I will win.

 To be clear, this isn’t a cause Ruben chose randomly. No, it definitely hits close to home for the soulful crooner, who was always present at Birmingham’s Rising Star Baptist Church as his mother and her fellow choir members convened different events to promote awareness of the disease. In addition to releasing the song, the Velvet Teddy Bear has been promoting the cause by hosting “Empowerment Days,” which will feature iron overload education presentations, beginning in September in Memphis, TN, and into October in Orlando, FL, Jackson, MS, Baton Rouge, LA and Raleigh-Durham, NC.

 Studdard hopes that making more people savvy as to how they can be “sickle smart” will empower them with not only knowledge, but the tools to fight off the disease by living a more balanced lifestyle. Helping them to be a fighter, just like him.

 For more information about how you can be more “Be Sickle Smart,” please visit their website at www.besicklesmart.com.

To find out more about Studdard, his album news, and his “Empowerment” tour dates, please go to www.RubenStuddard.com.

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