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


18th October 2021
Sickle Cell Consortium’s 1st Caregiver Summit On Tap for Nov. 12-14

The Sickle Cell Community Consortium is gearing up for its inaugural Caregiver Summit, to be held virtually Nov. 12–14. The event is being hosted in partnership with Cleverly Changing, the Parent 2 Parent initiative, and members of the sickle cell disease (SCD) community nationwide. Topics will include mental health and self-care, disease education and management, medical resources and care access, and SCD …

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13th October 2021
We Must End the Stigma of Pain Medication for Sickle Cell Crises

The pain from a sickle cell crisis is one of the most devastating things I have felt. It is unpredictable and can eat away at you physically, spiritually, and mentally. The normal response to severe pain is to cure it or ease it, which usually involves taking some type of painkiller. But I’ve never felt comfortable taking …

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28th August 2021
ASH RC Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Trials Network Launches First Ten Research Sites

The ASH Research Collaborative (ASH RC) has announced the first 10 clinical research consortia to join the ASH RC Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Trials Network. The sites will be able to enroll children and adults living with SCD within their patient populations in clinical trials as part of an unprecedented national effort to streamline operations …

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26th August 2021
Get Ready for Back to School with CHOP’s Sickle Cell School Outreach Resources

As the 2021-2022 school year begins, it is important that students living with sickle cell disease (SCD) start the year prepared. To help, the Sickle Cell Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has developed a collection of comprehensive resources on SCD and how it can affect students throughout their academic career. These resources are …

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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

Judy Robinson


Felix Ikokwu

Admin Assistant

Dr. Carlyle Ross


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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