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UNICO hosts Cooley’s Anemia symposium

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – UNICO Delaware was slated to conduct its annual thalassemia information conference from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 21 at St. Edmond Parish Hall.

Speakers included Ralph Colasanti, a Delawarean and the first person with this disease, to serve as the national president of the Cooley’s Anemia/Thalassemia Foundation, and Craig Butler, the foundation’s executive director.

On the agenda: A discussion with Colasanti and Butler about current treatment and therapy options. They, along with symposium coordinator Dr. Steven Stanzione, a retired hematologist and oncologist, were planning to conclude the session with a Q&A.

UNICO National and its chapters around the country have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to find a cure. Affected children, who in the past lived only to approximately 5 years of age, now live well into adulthood. But a cure has not been found. Funds are still needed for research, treatment, transfusions, and medical costs that burden families while they await a cure.

The Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, a (501) (c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been a supportive and strong partner for families living with thalassemia, for more than 60 years. It is a generic blood disease which requires those afflicted to have frequent lifelong blood transfusions. 

In 1954, Frank Ficarra was a young Italian American living and working in Brooklyn. N.Y. Two of his young children were diagnosed with this rare blood disease. He started organizing neighborhood blood drives to ensure that his children and others like them would have the precious blood that they needed to survive. He and other parents of Cooley’s Amenia patients eventually formed the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, which has grown into a national and international force. 

The Foundation aims to advance the treatment and cure for this fatal blood disease, enhance the quality of life of patients and educate the medical profession, trait carriers and the public about Thalassemia.

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