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


16th November 2020
When Actions Speak Louder Than Words — Racism and Sickle Cell Disease

The merciless killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and the more recent shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey have catalyzed the most widespread protests in American history, calling not only for an end to police brutality but also for a nation in pain to reflect on the …

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16th November 2020
Patient-reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) in Pediatric Non-Malignant Hematology: A Systematic Review

Abstract Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are questionnaires completed by patients or caregivers without influence by health care professionals. As such, PROMs show subjective health experiences, enhance the clinical information available to providers, and inform clinical action. The objective of this systematic review is to identify and list which validated PROMs have been used to monitor …

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3rd July 2020
Addressing Global Issues

World Sickle Cell Awareness Day on June 19, was first celebrated in 2009 and continues to be a great opportunity for organizations around the world and the sickle cell disease (SCD) global community to raise public awareness about the disease. Today, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) is proud to share significant progress in the …

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28th March 2020
Familiarity Breeds Immunity—If I Know You, You Can’t Have the Virus By Dr. Kimberly Burke*

I would like to commend the relevant authorities for the work that has been done and the decisions that have been made in the best interest of the community. Despite our many concerns let us not become fearful and as we try to protect ourselves from becoming infected may our actions not be seen as …

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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

Felix Ikokwu

Admin Assistant

Michelle Paterson Nipp

Past President

Dr. Kimberly Burke


Abisola Ojikutu


Bernice Asiedu-Ampen

Vice President - Administration & Northern Alberta

Dr. Carlyle Ross


Dr. Jean Walrond PhD

President - Research & Education

Hannah Eche-Ameh


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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