A black philanthropist and Sickle Cell advocate, Howard Woolley, was presented with a “Sickle Cell Outstanding Service Award” at the 2019 Roland B. Scott Memorial Symposium in Washington.
Among Woolley’s most significant achievements in the Sickle Cell arena was to publish his late wife’s memoir (SOAR by Gail Campbell Woolley). She passed away in 2015 after several battles with SCD.
Thanks to Howard and SOAR, Gail’s story is still being told today. Woolley had a novel published posthumously in 2017. After the publication, he has traveled from Sickle Cell Symposium to Sickle Cell Conference, radiating his late-wife’s story of ‘SOARING’ above a dim prognosis.
Gail was told by the doctors at age 7 that she wouldn’t live beyond the age of 35, but she went on to prove the doctors wrong. She lived a fulfilled life as she battled the disease till the age of 58. During those periods, she had a successful career and marriage but she also fought sickle cell disease in the process; not allowing her diagnosis to stop her. She went further by graduating from Syracuse University and then going to become a journalist at The Washington Star, The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Times.
Upon receiving the award, Howard Woolley stated that; “As my good friend President of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA), Beverley Francis-Gibson said, after reading Gail’s memoir SOAR ‘Gail had a sickle cell – but sickle cell didn’t have Gail’. I accept this award on behalf of Gail. She battled SCD for 58 years and typical of her left us with knee last parting shot at the disease called SOAR which is aimed at building consciousness about the disease and increasing funding for a cure and patient care”.
The award was held at Howard University. This year’s theme was termed “Preparing the Next Generation of Advocates for Sickle Cell Disease Healthcare”. Top advocates and medical professionals in the field gathered to share information and learn about the latest developments with treatments and possible cures.
Award recipients were chosen by the Roland B. Scott Sickle Cell Symposium Planning Committee. Speakers at the symposium included: Steven Rivelis, CEO, Campaign Consultation, Inc.; Beverley Francis-Gibson, MA, President and CEO, Sickle Cell Disease Association of America; and Patricia Burks RN, MA, CCRC, Director of Clinical Trials Affairs Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Panel members included: Gloria Rochester, Founder, Queens Sickle Cell Advocacy Network (QSCAN); Nikia Vaughn, Communications Coordinator, Community Health Worker, Johns Hopkins University; Sickle Cell Disease Patient, Baltimore, MD, George Carter, and Advocate, administrator for two nonprofit organizations in Virginia – Sickle Cell Associations of Richmond-OSCAR and Sickle Cell Chapters of Virginia.
Mr. Howard Woolley is the incumbent President and CEO of Howard Woolley Group LLC. He also serves as the spokesperson for SOAR: A memoir as well as being Sickle Cell Disease Advocate and Philanthropist. Woolley is the Founder of the Gail Woolley Fund Foundation for Project Echo and also a trustee at John Hopkins Medicine. Howard continues to find a cure for SCD. Gail’s story with Howard and her battle with Sickle Cell Disease is documented in her memoir titled ‘SOAR’. Today, Howard works with SCD Organisations around the world, supporting fund and spreading awareness to those working to find better treatments and a cure.