Success Stories / By Vyonne Owade / 24/10/2022


Sickle Cell Disease is a genetic blood disorder. It is most common among people whose ancestors come from Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean basin, and India.

It affects haemoglobin, (the protein found in red blood cells (RBCs)) that helps carry oxygen throughout the body. It occurs when a person inherits two abnormal genes (one from each parent) that cause their red blood cells to change shape. Instead of being flexible and disc-shaped, these cells are stiffer and curved in the shape of the old farm tool known as a sickle — that's where the disease gets its name. The immediate cure for Sickle cell anaemia is bone marrow transplant which is not readily available in Kenya and also very expensive.

Management of sickle cell anaemia is usually aimed at avoiding pain episodes, relieving symptoms and preventing complications. One of the most common ways to manage sickle anaemia especially in children is the use of daily medications which include Hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea, Siklos).  

Hydroxyurea reduces the frequency of painful crises and might reduce the need for blood transfusion and hospitalization. In Kenya, it is estimated that 14,000 children are born with Sickle Cell Disease every year. In the absence of routine new-born screening and appropriate treatment, an estimated 50-90% of those born with the condition die undiagnosed before their 5th birthday in Sub-Saharan Africa. This disease is common across Kenya, affecting 18 counties, with high disease burden pockets in Western, Nyanza and Coastal regions.

In the month of September, the world celebrates Sickle Cell Awareness Month, it’s in this regard that the Children Sickle Foundation together with German Doctors Nairobi and Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital organised a Charity Football Match to play versus Railway Wanderers FC, on 1st of October 2022 to create awareness about sickle anaemia and also collect donations towards the purchase of hydroxyurea for those families that cannot afford this essential medicine, thus the term  Turning sickles to smiles.

At the end of the event, the Charity Football Match collected money worth buying 14,000 capsules of hydroxyurea. This is above the initial target of 10,000 capsules. The fundraising efforts are attributed to: 


v  Edwina Orowe: Fundraised for 6000 capsules of hydroxyurea 

 v  German Doctors Nairobi: donated 4000 capsules of hydroxyurea and players kits

v  Children Sickle Cell Foundation and Friends: donated 4000 capsules of     hydroxyurea and Players training bibs and Goalie’s kit

v  Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital: Players kits, water, soda and snacks for players

This is a start of so many Charity Events that aims towards helping those who might find it difficult to acquire the hydroxyurea capsules which are very important to children living with sickle cell anaemia.

For any donation towards the same course you can donate to the Children Sickle Cell Foundation; remember it’s about Turning sickles into smiles