SCFA - Sickle Cell Foundation of Alberta


A common disease that’s rarely talked about.

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a genetic blood disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Despite its prevalence, people born with SCD tend to suffer in silence. Cultural barriers and misinformation about SCD have contributed to its bad reputation. SCD is definitely not contagious. Nevertheless, many people mistakenly believe SCD is easily transmitted like other blood-borne illnesses such as Hepatitis C and HIV.

This disease affects all people differently and the severity of symptoms varies from person to person. SCD can be managed with medical treatment. Early diagnosis, regular medical care by a qualified doctor, and awareness of pain triggers all contribute to improved quality of life for patients living with SCD.

The Sickle Cell Foundation of Alberta (SCFA) is dedicated to creating awareness about SCD, advocating for funding for SCD research and providing support services to patients living in Alberta, their parents and caregivers.

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle Cell Disease is a genetic blood disorder. It is inherited when offspring receive the sickle cell trait from both their biological parents... read more



Children are born with Sickle Cell Disease, but they may not show symptoms until after their fetal hemoglobin is depleted... read more


Common Around the World

Sickle Cell Disease affects millions of people from around the world, especially those whose ancestors descended from... read more


3rd July 2019
Resolution of Acute Priapism in Two Children with Sickle Cell Disease who Received Nitrous Oxide.

BACKGROUND: Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an inhalational medication with few side effects that has anxiolytic, amnestic, potent venodilatory and mild-to-moderate analgesic properties commonly used in the emergency department (ED) setting. Priapism is a serious complication of sickle cell disease (SCD) with few treatment options and an adverse impact on quality of life. Although a 50:50 …

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2nd July 2019
Rapid Result Test On Track to Transform Sickle Cell Disease Screening for Millions

Soon after birth, a baby in the United States is tested for sickle cell disease, the often-devastating genetic blood disorder affecting more than 100,000 Americans and 20 million of people worldwide. If positive, that newborn typically begins a course of treatment that can greatly prolong life and help stave off complications of the disease. But …

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2nd July 2019
Cure Sickle Cell Initiative Research Opportunity Announcement

The NHLBI is soliciting applications for the following research opportunity: “Analytical and/or Clinical Validation of Candidate Biomarkers for Curative Therapies in Sickle Cell Disease.” The proposed projects will develop and validate assays for biomarkers of clinical endpoints, to be used in clinical trials of genetic-based curative treatments for sickle cell disease. Applications are due July 31, …

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2nd July 2019
Six essential updates for World Sickle Cell Day

World Sickle Cell Day is held every June 19. The observance — established by the United Nations — is designed to increase knowledge and understanding of sickle cell disease, as well as the challenges that patients, their families and their caregivers face. 1. HemOnc Today’s June 10 cover story focused on sickle cell disease, the …

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Frequently Asked Questions



What are sickle cells?

Most red blood cells are round in shape - like a disc - so they can easily flex through blood vessels of all sizes. Sickle cells are not like normal red blood cells. They have abnormal hemoglobin which causes red blood cells to become misshapen, hard and sticky. These C-shaped cells get their name from a farm tool called the “sickle”, which is a similar shape.


How do you get Sickle Cell Disease?

You inherit the disorder from your biological parents. The disease is only passed on genetically when offspring receive the sickle cell trait from both biological parents. It is present for life.


Is Sickle Cell Disease a rare blood disorder?

It is the most common genetic blood disorder world-wide. Despite this, many people – including doctors, nurses, and school teachers – aren’t familiar with this disease.


How come people with Sickle Cell Disease get ill often?

Sickle cells die quicker than healthy, red blood cells. For this reason, red blood cells in someone living with SCD are in constant short supply. A sickle cell patient will tire more easily, become dehydrated more quickly, and is prone to frequent pain crises and serious infection.


How will I know if I have Sickle Cell Disease?

A simple blood test called the hemoglobin electrophoresis can be done by your doctor. This test will tell if you are a carrier of the sickle cell trait, or if you have the disease.  New born babies can also be screened for sickle cell disease.


What is sickle cell trait?

A person with sickle cell trait carries one sickle hemoglobin producing gene and one normal hemoglobin gene. Normal hemoglobin is called type ‘A’ and sickle hemoglobin is called type ‘S’. Sickle cell trait is the presence of hemoglobin ‘AS’ on the hemoglobin electrophoresis. This will NOT cause sickle cell disease.

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Our Directors


Michelle Paterson Nipp


Revee Agyepong


Kale Vizor


Abisola Ojikutu


Bernice Asiedu-Ampen


Theo Ehiwe


Dr. Carlyle Ross


Dr. Jean Walrond PhD

Vice President

Michael Ngatcha


Founded in 2001 by Dr Ekua Yorke and Dr Jojo Yorke. Sickle Cell Disease is one of the most common childhood-onset, single-gene disorder. Check out these stats on the right.

SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 365 Black or African-American births.

SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births.

About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with sickle cell trait (SCT).

for a Sickle
Cell Patient

While there is no cure yet for Sickle Cell Disease, the painful symptoms of this disease can be prevented by regular blood transfusions.

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