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Sickle cell charity event a personal cause for Jets WR Holmes

LINDEN, N.J. -- Santonio Holmes overcame sickle cell to become a Super Bowl MVP and one of the NFL's best wide receivers.

Watching his young son, Santonio III, suffer with the disease has the New York Jets receiver determined to try to help find a cure. Holmes raised nearly $34,000 for sickle cell anemia research with a charity bowling event Monday night attended by dozens of teammates, including Mark Sanchez and coach Rex Ryan.

"It's actually a part of my life, something I went through as a kid, and still to this day, I deal with some effects of sickle cell," the 27-year-old Holmes said. "Mainly, this is for my son and all the friends he has made who are sickle cell patients. It's just an honor to be able to give back to the community of kids who suffer from this disease."

Holmes organized the event at Jersey Lanes bowling alley through his III & Long Foundation, which has raised more than $100,000 during the past few years. Holmes, along with players such as Bart Scott, Sione Pouha and John Conner, signed autographs, posed for pictures and bowled several frames with a few hundred fans -- most wearing Jets jerseys.

"Oh, man, I've caught a few crimps in my arms just from bending over and signing autographs," Holmes said with a laugh. "I think this is one of the few times that a player can really enjoy the opportunity of signing autographs because of what we're doing it for."

Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum didn't bowl, but mingled with fans before leaving. Guard Brandon Moore, who was critical of Holmes' comments a few weeks ago in which he blamed the offensive line for not giving Sanchez enough time to throw deep passes, was also among the Jets players to attend.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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