The Mentoring Scheme is for people living with sickle cell aged 10-25 in Hackney and City. Sign up for FREE support and advice in our one-to-one mentoring sessions led by peer mentors (June, Whitney and Michael), all of whom have sickle cell themselves. You can read about what the mentors have been up to on Page 17 of our latest Newsletter.

A Pause to Referrals 

As most of you will know, the Sickle Cell Peer Mentoring Programme has been successful in terms of its engagement with children young people and parents, clinicians, commissioners, including the demand and uptake not just from City and Hackney but from most boroughs across London.

We were also fortunate to have had the opportunity for the programme to be published in the British Journal of Haematology in Spring of 2019 outlining the outcomes of the model on children and young people. Our mentors were at the British Society of Haematology Conference in Glasgow in April 2019 to present their work.

We are pleased to announce that the Sickle Cell Society are currently in early conversations with all of the East London Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the 7 boroughs about the potential expansion of the City and Hackney Sickle Cell Peer Mentoring Programme which has successfully piloted over the last 2 years.

Whilst these conversations are taking place, we intend to pause referrals into the programme to manage demand and capacity. The break will commence from 30th June 2019. This means the mentors will take a short break from mentoring young people to ensure that the wider expansion to all of East London is successful. We hope the programme will resume hopefully in the winter or early next year, 2020 and will be re-launched. We will keep you informed of the progress of the programme expansion.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Sickle Cell Society on 

June Okochi – Lead Mentor

June was diagnosed with sickle cell before the age of 1 with the SS genotype. She says growing up with sickle cell was harder than living with sickle as an adult as she began to understand the condition better and learn the limitations of the condition including the patterns and triggers of her crises.

June has a B.A in English Literature, PgD in Business and Research and a MBA. June has spent most of her career with the National Health Service working on national and local transformation programmes and change management.

When June is not working, she is being creative, writing poetry, blogs, travel articles and lots of reports. June has several interests specifically around arts and culture. She travels a lot, enjoys horse riding, is a bit of a foodie, and generally enjoys… [read more here]

Whitney Joseph

Whitney was diagnosed with Sickle Cell at six weeks old. Since then she has managed her condition using daily medication. She has been fortunate enough to have the support of her parents and her immediate family who have helped her to manage her condition but she admits that she struggled with the transition into adulthood. In the past Whitney found it difficult to talk about Sickle Cell but she is now much more confident talking about her health and wants to encourage other young people to speak up too.

Whitney graduated from the University of Essex in 2012 having studied an undergraduate law degree. She then went on to complete the post-graduate Legal Practice Course in 2014 and is now working as a trainee solicitor in London… [read more here]

Michael Tsiagbe

Michael was diagnosed with the HbSC genotype prenatally. Growing up with the benefit of a paediatrician nurse as a mother he learnt to understand the triggers of crises and how to manage his condition and general wellbeing. In adulthood Michael has sought to understand more about how Sickle Cell affects people differently and the various ways the condition can be handled and managed.

Michael has a BSc in Financial Economics and an MSc in Real Estate. To date he has spent his career working in the property development field focusing on the financial viability, acquisition and delivery of residential accommodation blocks for rent to predominantly young professionals in London… [read more here]