MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The clinic in Methodist Healthcare’s sickle cell research center has a new name, and it has a big Memphis name attached to it.
The Mike and Mary Conley Comprehensive Sickle Cell Clinic has been renamed in honor of the Grizzlies point guard.
This announcement came on the heels of Conley donating $500,000 to the hospital for sickle cell research and treatment. Conley’s total donations to Methodist now reach $1 million.
Conley said he has been inspired to raise awareness and funds for sickle cell treatment since he got to the NBA as a 20-year-old.
“[The donation] is just a start,” Conley said. “I hope to influence athletes and others to make a difference.”
He said two of his cousins are diagnosed with sickle cell, and it’s hard for him to be able to play basketball for a living, while knowing his cousins and people with sickle cell cannot.
He also said awareness is not where it needs to be for this disease because sickle cell primarily impacts the black community, unlike other diseases.
“It doesn’t get the awareness that it rightfully deserves,” Conley said. “So it’s perfect for me to jump on board like so many others have.”
Conley said it’s very meaningful to have his name on the entryway to the clinic for a disease he is so passionate about.
“That’s unbelievable,” he said. “I never envisioned growing up being able to have the opportunity to leave a legacy, and this is part of it. This is the beginning.”
This $500,000 donation was a personal donation from the Conleys, but the previous $500,000 donation was funds raised at Conley’s annual Bowl ‘N Bash event.