Jourdan Dunn with her son Riley Dunn, All Over Press.

Jourdan Dunn with her son Riley Dunn, All Over Press.

Model citizen Jourdan Dunn

When her young son was diagnosed with sickle cell disease, Jourdan swung into action, bringing the cause to the attention of the fashion industry during fashion week – and beyond.

JOURDAN DUNN AND CELL FOR GRATITUDE

Jourdan Dunn isn’t just one of the most successful models of the past decade – she is also the mother of Riley, five, who has sickle cell disease (SCD), and a parent ambassador for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA). Jourdan recently introduced her Cell for Gratitude charity campaign with the launch of a necklace, designed by the model herself in partnership with jewellery brand Tuleste, from which all proceeds benefit the SCDAA.


KARLIE KLOSS, RIHANNA AND CARA DELEVINGNE ALL ATTENDED THE CELL FOR GRATITUDE EVENT YOU HOSTED IN NYC DURING FASHION WEEK IN SEPTEMBER. CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE?
This event was to announce my campaign, Cell For Gratitude. I wanted to introduce the cause to a community of people who can really make an impact. I was so grateful for everyone’s support.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AS A SICKLE CELL CAMPAIGNER?
My overall goal is to help generate awareness. At this moment, my pressing focus is to obtain 100,000 signatures for a petition to be delivered to the White House. The SCD community is currently requesting that President Barack Obama acknowledge and declare sickle cell disease a national health priority. The funding to SCD programmes and research was drastically cut, and it is unfortunately really hurting our community. That is top priority for me at the moment.

HOW HAS THE FACT THAT RILEY HAS SICKLE CELL DISEASE AFFECTED YOU AS A PERSON AND AS A MOTHER?
It is really hard to put into words how it has changed me as a person and as a mother. Before I was faced with this adversity, I can admit that I took many of my blessings and good fortune for granted. I now realise the opportunity I have to really make a difference. This journey is not about having pity for my son’s condition or those affected by the disease, but more about awareness and knowing that I can influence the outcome in my special way.

WHAT’S NEXT?
I have a few initiatives that I am working on, including sales of the necklace, which will generate both awareness and funds for SCDAA. Also, when sickle cell patients become ill or, even worse, when their condition becomes a crisis, having access to a blood transfusion is extremely important. So next, and just as important, is to organise a blood drive in NYC next February – I better see you there!

Read more about Sickle Cell Disease Association of America here.

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