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Uriel Owens suffered greatly from Sickle Cell Anemia but despite the debilitating effects of Sickle Cell Anemia, he made outstanding contributions to his community. 

As a well-known civic leader in Kansas City, Kansas, he helped to establish the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project. For several years he was Director of the Economic Opportunity Foundation, an anti-poverty organization in Kansas City, Kansas. He was an active member of the Democratic Party and was a delegate to the Democratic Convention in Miami, Florida in 1972. 

Owens had often expressed the need for an organization that could assist sickle cell patients and their families in various ways. 

After his death on October 16, 1980, family members and close friends of Uriel decided to establish a sickle cell organization in his honor. The Sickle Cell Disease Association of the Midwest was established on January 19, 1981. The association continues to provide assistance to persons with Sickle Cell Disease, and to educate the community about the disease.

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