JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Our Hero Next Door is fighting to help save the lives of others.
"She was a wondering daughter and mother. She was friendly, she was outgoing she was a sweet person," said Benjamin Green. "Oh, she was a dad's girl."
Sylvia was Green's oldest child. A dad's girl who suffered for many years of her life.
"Sylvia she was having some pains and aches and crying and I could never figure out what was wrong with her," said Green.
The first four years of her life Ben and his wife took Sylvia to different doctors trying to figure out what was wrong.
"Doctors were telling me my daughter has a psychological problem. We had another daughter and they said she had first child syndrome," said Green. "That she didn't want to share the attention. One doctor told me I should do the old grandma remedy and give her a wooping and she would stop all that crying."
It wasn't until Green was transferred to NAS Jacksonville in 1971 that he'd finally find out why Sylvia was in constant pain and always crying.
Green says, "He told me that my child had a disease. I said a disease. Yes she has sickle anemia. A genetic disease usually found in black people."
He and his wife knew nothing about sickle cell and immediately because searching for information.
"I just felt because I knew little about sickle and others knew little, I joined them and I've been with them ever since," said Green.
He joined the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Northeast Florida Chapter in 1972. For more than four decades, he has traveled across the First Coast educating and raising awareness about a disease Ben says people still know little about.
All in his daughter's name - who passed at 38 years young.
"It's sad to say but sickle cell is a disease that has been on the back burner for many years. But, little money and research has been put into it. We just don't get the attention, education and awareness like other diseases," said Green. "I do admit modern medicine has done a lot over the years for sickle cell and patients that have sickle cell to allow them to live a long comfortable life but that's still not finding a cure."
Mr. Green says if you'd like more information or would like to become a member of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Northeast Florida Chapter you can give him a call at 904-226-7510.
"Thank you very much for that recognition and thoughtfulness. But the heroes are the people that we serve. The heroes are the ones that are suffering. I'm their advocate I speak for them," Green said.