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Annual Darling Dash race for Sickle Cell awareness returns for 14th year

Written by on February 5, 2024

The Houston-based “As One Foundation” happily announced that its Sickle Cell 10K, 5K, and 1K race is back for its 14th year.

The “Darling Dash” is held in honor of the “As One Foundation” founder and former Houston Texans player Devard Darling’s identical twin brother, Devaughn, who died from complications of Sickle Cell Trait while playing college football at Florida State University.

The annual race helps to bring awareness to athlete deaths, and disparities that plague those living with sickle cell.

This year, the race is being hosted by former Olympian and bronze medal winner Frank Rutherford. Well known for being the first Bahamian to win an Olympic medal, Rutherford, the cousin of the Darling twins, served as a mentor and propelled Devard and Devaughn to leave the Bahamas and pursue football in the United States.

“Playing in the NFL was a dream for Devard and Devaughn,” said Rutherford. “Although Devard went on to play professionally, it was bittersweet to not be able to cheer for Deavughn, alongside his brother. Since his death, we have made it our life’s mission to shine a light on sickle cell trait-related deaths among high school and college athletes.”

Proceeds from the race help to provide practicing and emerging medical staff educational material and tool kits for the “Operation Hydration” training program and supplies for outreach efforts for over 700 coaches, school nurses, and teachers. Funds from the race also support a monthly support group for post-transplant Warriors transition from sickle cell disease to sickle cell trait as well as quarterly blood drives blood drives in partnership with the Red Cross and the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Bank for sickle cell patients who need lifesaving blood transfusions as often as one to three times per month. The event will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25 at Stude Park in The Heights, kicking off at 7 a.m.

Sickle Cell Trait is classified as the leading non-injury killer of college athletes and affects 2.5 to 4 million people in the U.S. A simple blood test, along with supplemental SCT education for coaches and student-athletes, can prevent these deaths. For each $50 donation, we can provide one student with a free Sickle Cell Trait screening and supplemental education.”

Click here for more information or to register for the race.

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