In Memory Of Linda Collins

Linda CollinsLinda Collins was born November 3, 1960. Diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at the age of five, she made a commitment early in life not to sit in silence. A graduate of Percy Julian High School, Ms. Collins later earned a BA in Political Science with a concentration in Public Administration and Public Policy from Chicago State University.

While a student, she founded the Chicago State University Sickle Cell Anemia Support Organization (CSU-SCASO). For her efforts, Ms. Collins was awarded a mini-grant from the Governor’s Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities for a SCA educational workshop in 1984. This resulted in two health forums, The Sickle Cell Anemia Needs Identification Forum and the SCA Awareness Day Health Fair held in June of 1985 and June of 1986 respectively.

In 1982, Ms. Collins assisted in the research of SCA at the University of Illinois at Chicago; later in 1983 she worked with then State Representative Carol Moseley Braun on House Bill 308 to bring the issues of SCA to the forefront of Illinois health legislation. This effort succeeded as an amendment to Public Act 84-412.

In 1984, Ms. Collins helped organize La Rabida Children’s Hospital SCA program where she worked as a community relations assistant and patient advocate. The Attorney General of Illinois appointed Ms. Collins to The Disabled Person Advocacy Board in 1986, a position she held for nine years. In 1989, Ms. Collins worked on the American’s With Disability Act that was passed and signed into federal law in 1990. She was invited to the White House in 1994 to celebrate the 4th anniversary of its passage.

In honor of National Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness Month, in September, 1988 Ms. Collins organized her first Annual Sickle Cell Anemia Gala. Have A Heart for Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, formerly known as Sickle Cell Anemia Research and Educational Fund; a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization was established in 1990. Its mission is to raise public awareness through education and outreach, support and increase funding for research and improve the quality of life of those afflicted with SCA.

Ms. Collins hosted the weekly cable television show “Health Alert!” on Hotline 21, which was launched in 1992. CBS TV highlighted her accomplishments in 2001, when she was selected as a Tylenol Hometown Hero. Later that year, she was featured in Today’s Chicago Woman as one of its “One Hundred Women Making A Difference”. At the time of her death, January 18, 2002, Linda was a regional finalist for the Jefferson Awards 2002, a program of the American Institute for Public Service, who honor those who work to better their communities through volunteer and community service.

A single mother of two; Jerome, and Andriana, Ms. Collins dedicated her life to those who suffered from Sickle Cell Anemia. Her personal motto was “sickle cell anemia is what you have, not who you are”!



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