Oluwafemi Ajayi

This song comes to my mind always when I think of June 19: WSCD. It says; "Yea though I walk through the valley of sickle cell, I will fear no evil for God is with me, His rod and His staff they comfort me" Oluwafemi Ajayi

Mama Titi Adewunmi

There is nothing as laudable, commendable, and audacious as the living story of triumph against odds of stereotypes and pain. In light of World Sickle Cell Day, this quote reflects and amplifies the admirable grit of champions who are living positively with sickle cell anemia. Today, I join voices with these champions to spread the knowledge of this health condition with the teeming populace who live in ignorance about sickle cell. Creating sustainable awareness is on my front burner; and the provision of routine medication is my mission to every sickle cell girl and boy. These champions must be given the chance to live and enjoy life. This is my vision -- the Green Care vision! Mama Titi Adewunmi

Erin Kohlmetz
Nurse, McMaster Medical Centre, Hamilton

World Sickle Cell day is an opportunity to share knowledge about this disease and the impacts it can have on the lives of people affected by it There are too many systemic barriers to receiving evidence-based care for people with SCD.

As a nurse, I see World Sickle Cell Day as the time to break down misinformation, stigma, and barriers and increase education and advocacy with my colleagues on ways to provide high-quality health care to those with Sickle Cell disease. It is a day to listen to the stories and experiences of people in our community and reflect on where we have made a difference and when there is still more to learn and change.

Dr. Ewurabena Simpson
Hematologist, CHEO Hospital, Ottawa

World Sickle Cell Day (WSCD) is an opportunity to recognize the strength, resilience, and resolve of individuals who are affected by sickle cell disease. It is also a call to action for patients, health care providers, and policymakers to elevate the quality and availability of health resources for sickle cell disease in Canada and around the world.

We are fortunate that in Ontario, we have made great strides to improve the care for individuals with sickle cell disease. However, health care inequity is a real and persistent obstacle to delivering consistent and high-quality care for sickle cell disease in Ontario and we must work to identify and dismantle the systemic barriers that exist within our health system.

There are novel and promising therapeutics for sickle cell disease that is still not available to patients in Canada. There is also a limited number of treatment centers for sickle cell disease and they continuously face a scarcity of resources and support for their patients. As much as we have accomplished, WSCD reminds us that we can do so much more and that we should continue to advocate for the best possible health and medical care for everyone with sickle cell disease.

Dr. Jacob Pendergrast
Hematologist, University Health Network, Toronto

It is probable that the sickle cell gene represents a first step in the process of evolution toward the development of a mutant human being with effective protection against malaria.” These words were written in 1963 by Linus Pauling, the American biochemist credited for discovering the molecular basis of sickle cell disease, and it is a sentiment we need to embrace now. For too long, sickle cell disease has been a stigmatizing diagnosis, a condition that patients felt ashamed of and the medical profession preferred to either ignore or disdain.

But as Pauling (also a lifelong activist for peace) knew, sickle cell patients are warriors: warriors in humanity’s ancient battle with infectious disease, and warriors in their own daily struggle against pain and loss. To live with sickle cell disease is to live a life of courage and resilience. June 19th, World Sickle Cell Day, is the day we acknowledge this. It is a day for patients with sickle cell disease to state with pride what they represent in the history of human evolution, and what the rest of us can learn from them.

Dr. Madeleine Verhovsek
Hematologist, McMaster Medical Centre, Hamilton

World Sickle Cell Day in Ontario means supporting all people in Ontario and across Canada who are living with sickle cell disease. That includes ensuring they all have access to comprehensive, expert medical care and to all appropriate medical treatments. It is also an opportunity for us to reflect on global health inequities, and to advocate for increased awareness and prioritization of sickle cell disease diagnosis, care, treatment, and cure around the world.

Rashid Sarah
Social worker, McMaster Medical Centre, Hamilton

This day to me symbolizes the strength and sense of community that the children, youth, and families have every day while living with the ups and downs that come along with Sickle Cell Disease. It is important that education and awareness continue, to ensure our health care system can better support people living with Sickle Cell Disease

Tanya Elese
South-East Region Coordinator, SCAGO

June 19 is Sickle cell awareness day. This day is important to raise awareness around sickle cell, a life-threatening disease that is caused by abnormally shaped red blood cells that can impair blood flow, causing strokes, lung disease, and organ damage. Although thousands of Canadians live with sickle cell, many people here in Canada are not aware it exists, and research is still behind. This is why it is important for you, for me, and us to educate ourselves about sickle cell and spread the word. To learn more, please visit https://sicklecellanemia.ca/world-sickle-cell-day