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Meet Nazhi “Thee Baker” Forrest of Nazhi Thee Baker Angel Foundation in Miramar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nazhi “Thee Baker” Forrest.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been baking for a few years now and I have also battled Sickle Cell Anemia since birth. One thing that makes me unique is that my two sisters also are fighting sickle cell! All three of us have a rare sickle cell trait that strikes all female children from my parents.

After the tragic experience of witnessing my older sister have a massive stroke in 2014, I learned more about the history of our overlooked disease. I learned about trigger foods and special dietary needs that help people living with sickle cell stay healthy.

Since I love to bake, I decided to find new ways to make treats that we love. I came up with recipes for cakes that ANYONE could enjoy; even people battling Sickle Cell or on restricted diets. I have a big sweet tooth, so it was hard to find a way to create the same taste. I kept on testing until I found a great formula that uses organic and natural ingredients. Once my parents tasted what I was making, they knew I was on to something and Nazhi Thee Baker was born! That also gave life to Nazhi Thee Baker Angel Foundation. I use the proceeds of my cakes to buy toys and items needed by children with Sickle Cell, stuck in the hospital for extended periods of time.

We are spreading awareness about Sickle Cell and we have been blessed to have our story told on local and national television and radio! This is just the beginning of our journey and we hope to inspire others to do the same.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not always been easy, but we have a great circle of support around us. One of the main struggles is getting people to understand more about Sickle Cell Anemia. It is a disease that often gets overlooked because most people with Sickle Cell don’t look sick on the outside, so many people do not take it seriously.

There are also many people living with Sickle Cell who are ashamed and never tell anyone, so this sometimes hinders awareness. A person with Sickle Cell carries abnormal red blood cells that are shaped like sickles, sort of like half-moons. The cells do not live very long, so that leaves a shortage of healthy red blood cells in the body. When red blood cells are sickle in shape, this can block blood flow causing a painful sickle cell crisis.

Most people do not realize that children, as well as adults with Sickle Cell, must be careful what they eat because of foods that can trigger adverse reactions in the body. This includes heart attacks, massive strokes, organ failure, acute chest syndrome, pneumonia and even death!

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) affects approximately 100,000 Americans, occurs in about one out of every 365 African-American births and affects about one out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Nazhi Thee Baker Angel Foundation story. Tell us more about the business.
Nazhi Thee Baker Angel Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to making a difference in advancing the awareness of Sickle Cell Anemia, so that strides will be made in finding a cure!

Our Mission: To inspire hope to those affected by Sickle Cell Anemia. We want to restore faith, love, laughter, joy and a sense of belonging…thus removing the feeling of loneliness!

We are known for our TLC bags. In each bag there are things that a child with sickle cell needs while in the hospital for several days at a time. We have jump ropes for healthy hearts, pinwheels for the kids to practice their breathing, socks for when they get cold and a host of other fun items like books and games to pass the time.

We are proud to be able to educate! We want to bring light to the trigger foods that send children with Sickle Cell into a crisis episode. So many parents do not realize Sickle Cell children need to be on special diets to make sure they stay as healthy as possible.

What sets us apart from others is that we have a true connection with the Sickle Cell families. We go into the hospitals and sit with them, learn from them and make a relationship with them. While many organizations raise money for causes, we truly get to know the families and that makes a great impact!

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Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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