Cooley’s Anemia Awareness Ornament
My name is Gina Falco, I own Once & Again Consignment, and my sister was born with a blood disease called Thalassemia major, also known as Cooley’s Anemia. All throughout life, this dreadful disease has affected her. This year, I’m putting a life-long dream into motion and raising as much money as I can to find a cure.
Thalassemia is complicated – it’s a group of genetic blood disorders all resulting in early childhood anemia that lasts throughout life – and Cooley’s Anemia is the most severe form of Beta Thalassemia. My sister’s hemoglobin, along with others with Cooley’s Anemia, do not have any beta protein. The result is a life-threatening anemia.
My sister has required extensive ongoing medical care and regular blood transfusions her whole life. To prevent organ failure and early death, she must also receive chelation therapy. This combats the iron-overload in her system caused by the extensive, lifelong blood transfusions she needs to treat her condition. I can’t even imagine how taxing all of this is on her body and mind – but she never lets it affect her spirit.
I’d like to give back to our community and honor those who are, or know someone who has been affected by Thalassemia. For the month of December, Once & Again Consignment stores will have a Christmas tree covered from top to bottom with ornaments, decorated in honor of my sister and others affected by Thalassemia.
Each ornament has been handmade by a Once & Again staff member to educate our community and fight to cure Thalassemia. My team has spent countless hours gluing ribbons and rhinestones, designing inspirational tags, and getting our store windows to look just right.
Can’t make it to our location? You can participate online and purchase one of our handmade ornaments. With the sale of each ornament, Once & Again Consignment stores will be donating to the National Cooley’s Anemia Foundation. Together, we can support those affected by Thalassemia and fight to end it.
I am so grateful to my staff for helping me put my dream to do this into action. My sister has this dreadful disease and it’s been a battle her whole life. I want to make sure she knows that she is cared for and loved – I want her story to be known.
For more information, please visit the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation’s website.