The Male Youth Back To School Parade Marshal is Gabriel George (presently 9 years old). He has been selected as the 2007-2009 Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) National Poster Child. He was diagnosed with sickle cell disease when he was 3 weeks old. Since his diagnosis, his parents, Charles and Cheryl George have been actively involved in the Marc Thomas Sickle Cell Foundation in Austin, TX. Gabriel attends Applegate Academy and enjoys spending time with his brother Nathaniel, reading, riding his bike, hot wheel cars, inventing things and taking pictures with his digital camera. He has been playing the violin since he was 5 years old and he is actively involved in a youth group at his church, Alpha Seventh-Day Adventist Church. He has helped the group (The Adventurers) raise $30,000 to go to Kisii, Kenya to help an orphanage there getting running water and electricity. He is very proud of how God is using him to bless those less fortunate.
Since April 2001, Gabriel has also been a spokesperson for the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas (BTC) and has appeared for speaking engagements numerous times on behalf of the BTC and the Marc Thomas Sickle Cell Foundation. Gabriel understands that he is not just surviving with Sickle Cell Disease “HE IS THRIVING WITH SICKLE CELL DISEASE!”
UPDATE: Gabriel met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office in March 2009 to discuss Sickle Cell Disease and possible cures.
He also gave a few gifts to the first daughters. (Read More). Instead of focusing on the sourness of this “lemon” of a disease, he is fully enjoying the sweet taste of lemonade … life. How sweet it is!!!