Fund Raising for Sickle Cell Disease: Getting a Famous Face to Help [Interview][Transcript]

Dr_Nina_Anderson_Fund_Raising_Sickle_Cell_ResearchGuest: Dr. Nina Anderson
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr. Nina Anderson is Executive Director of Tova Community Health, Inc. Their aim is to build capacity for a community-based health center dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for people who live with chronic medical conditions like Sickle Cell Disease. Dr. Anderson’s mission is to provide holistic care and services to her clients to achieve optimal health outcomes.

Segment overview: In this segment, Dr. Nina Anderson shares her insight regarding sponsorships and getting advertisers. She explains why it is so difficult to get mainstream sponsors for research and development of a chronic illness such as Sickle Cell. Dr. Anderson also tackles some of the best outlets to place advertisements for the greatest impact.


Health Professional Radio

Neal Howard: Welcome to Health Professional Radio. Thank you so much for joining us today, I’m your host Neal Howard. Our guest in studio today is Dr. Nina Anderson, Executive Director of Tova Community Health Incorporated located in Wilmington, Delaware. Tova Community Health is aiming to build capacity for community based health center dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for people who live with chronic medical conditions such as but not limited to Sickle cell disease. And when it comes to providing the best care there is research involved, there is development involved, there are clinical trials, there are all sorts of things that are involved and none of this steps are taken free of charge. Dr. Anderson is here today with us to talk about some of the ways that sponsors and advertisers are crucial when it comes to raising funds for research, not only hands-on research but just finding ways to give better care to people that are suffering from all sorts of diseases. How are you doing today Dr. Anderson?

Dr. Nina Anderson: Great, I’m glad to be back and to support just to let you know that we’re moving along. And we’ve had great exciting things that are going on at the center and just grateful to be here today.

N: Now you recently this past September 5K Walk and Run held where you raised a good amount of money even though you have to come out of pocket but that’s something that is always a necessity when it comes to fundraising, yeah?

A: Yes, that’s correct.

N: Now what events do you have coming up here in the not too distant future as far as raising awareness of sickle cell and need for funding?

A: Well towards the end of the year or early spring we’re going to have a Blood Drive which we’re partnering with the Delmarva blood bank which is in Delaware. And in the spring we’re going to have a talent show that’s gonna be coordinated through one of my staff to try to put together another event to raise awareness of Sickle Cell. It’s again I’ve always been told that usually about 2 or 3 events a year is a nice number to do for a small non-profit like myself. But throughout the year we’re always very much engaged in the community. So I’m doing participating in parades or house fairs or speaking at hospitals or community centers or churches.

N: Uh huh.

A: So we’re always just constantly ensuring that people know that we’re out there, we’re in the community and we’re raising awareness and providing care for adolescents and adults with Sickle cell.

N: Now when it comes to raising funds not only for diseases but the research into diseases but any type of fund raising – usually a celebrity, name to drop or celebrity face to use or maybe even a voice over from a celebrity goes a long way in raising awareness and peaking interest into certain disease and the research surrounding that disease. But when it comes to getting the word out, advertisers and sponsors who may not be of a celebrity nature are even more crucial, would you say?

A: Yes, they are and they’re very costly. (Laugh)

N: Yeah. Now what types of advertisers and sponsors would someone such as Tova Community Health be interested in and begin to romance and raise awareness and interest into research into sickle cell disease? What types of sponsors are you looking for? I mean are we talking about you know Budweiser or are we talking about Tyson Chicken?

A: (laugh) Well I would probably say some of the bigger corporate sponsors like Pfizer which was gracious to give us a donation … it can be Johnson & Johnson.

N: Yes.

A: Some of the bigger academic institutions would be nice to have, yes.

N: Now is it difficult to get well-known main stream sponsors for research and development of chronic illnesses such as Sickle Cell?

A: Yes, they are. As you would say someone who’s a bigger celebrity they may charge $2 or $5,000 for just an appearance at an event. And if that’s all you have in your budget, you can’t start with coordinating the whole event. There’s just no way that you can have…


A: Quite derivative.

A: a great celebrity there. And it’s unfortunate that sometimes they will not come, even though this is a great cause and this is a definitely a need in the community but everything is about the money for some people and it’s very difficult for one small like myself to be able to engage such a person to come to an event.

N: Let our listeners know in your experience and your ongoing experience is like, this you say is your 5th year or your 4th year of holding just the 5K Walk and Run. In your experience, do you find cultivating a relationship with a huge mainstream sponsor is just as essential as cultivating that relationship as you spoke of in another segment with someone who’s smaller or even an individual or maybe even one of the learning institutions? Is it that same process or are there differences based on the fact that these are huge advertisers that deal with billions of dollars on a quarterly basis?

A: Well I haven’t really talked to someone who has done lots of events on a bigger largest scale. And a lot of the marketers say that “If you have 10,000 people or 20,000 people that are coming to your event, we wouldn’t mind sponsoring it. But if you say you have an event that will bring up between 500 and 750 or a thousand, that’s still a small number to a big marketing company.” But I believe that you go low and slowly to build and cultivate relationships which in in our local community. And my hope is one day there may be a larger media outlet for us to get into. But as again I mean, I’m very, very proud of the fact that we raised $18,000 with the average donation was $30 and that seems that definitely an impact that we’re making. And maybe it may not be so monetary in nature and we can’t really quantify, it doesn’t mean that our work is not valuable.

N: Uh huh. Now let’s talk specifically about how our listeners can learn more about Tova Community Health Incorporated, learn more about you and what you’re trying to do. And possibly pass the word along to others who may be interested in Sickle Cell Disease and some of the other chronic illnesses that Tova Community Health is involved with.

A: Yes. So you can visit our website at, you can visit us on our Facebook page, you can visit us or tweet us on Twitter. And you can also go to our blog which is

N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. It’s been a pleasure talking in studio today with Dr. Nina Anderson Executive Director of Tova Community Health Incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware. Dr. Anderson’s mission is to provide holistic care and services for our clients to achieve optimal health outcomes. And basically to improve the overall quality of care for people that are living with chronic medical conditions such as but not limited to Sickle Cell Disease. It’s been great having you here with us again Dr. Anderson.

A: Thank you, it’s been great.

N: Thank you so much. Transcript and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

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