NYBC has a long-standing commitment to patients with sickle cell disease, serving transfusion needs and working to develop novel treatments

Dr. Christopher D. Hillyer, NYBC's Yadira Navarro, and NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams

NEW YORK CITY – On Thursday, June 16, 2022, the New York City Council issued a proclamation honoring New York Blood Center (NYBC) for their extraordinary dedication to sickle cell disease patients – through transfusion management and cutting-edge research.

Sickle cell disease, an inherited red cell disorder that is most common among African Americans, impacts about 10,000 New Yorkers. Despite the prevalence of this devastating disease, it has been under-researched, and the medical community currently has a limited understanding of the complex biological processes that lead to disease complications, making the contributions of these organizations essential.

NYBC is an international leader in sickle cell disease research, focusing on preventing and treating complications, including pain episodes and tissue injury, and developing novel strategies to help cure the disease through stem cell transplantation and gene therapy. NYBC is home to some of the world’s foremost comprehensive programs in transfusion management of patients with sickle cell disease, who often need transfusions every few weeks and require specific blood types.

The Sickle Cell Awareness Foundation Corp International (SCAFCI), NYS Sickle Cell Advocacy Network (NYSSCAN) and Sickle Cell Thalassemia Patients Network (SCTPN) were also honored with proclamations for their dedication to raising awareness of the condition and their work advocating for support for patients. 

“We are honored to receive this recognition from the City Council Speaker, Health Committee and Council Staff. As leaders in world-class sickle cell research and treatment it is our hope that together we will find a cure for sickle cell disease and improve the quality of life for those impacted by the condition,” said Christopher D. Hillyer, MD, President and CEO of New York Blood Center. “We’d like to thank our community partners as well as the thousands of New Yorkers who make lifesaving blood donations each year.” 

“Every day we see the battles families face as their loved ones suffer from sickle cell disease. It’s by raising awareness and advocating for support that we change the status quo,” said Merlene Smith-Sotillo, President & Founder of the Sickle Cell Awareness Foundation Corp International. “We are so grateful to the City Council for their recognition of this important cause.” 

“We’d like to thank the City Council Speaker, Health Committee and Council Staff for this incredible honor,” said Gloria Rochester, President & Founder of the NYS Sickle Cell Advocacy Network. “We’ve come a long way since the establishment of our organization in 1978, but there is still so much more that needs to be done to educate the public and support the families affected by this condition.” 

“Sickle Cell Disease can impact people from all backgrounds, as it can be found in Black, Asian, Latino and Caribbean families. We’ve been fighting since 1989 to raise awareness of the genetic condition through advocacy and education,” said Ginger Davis, President of the Sickle Cell Thalassemia Patients Network. “We’d like to extend our gratitude to Speaker Adams and her City Council colleagues for this honor.”

Learn more about NYBC's work related to Sickle Cell Disease