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Virginia Pertillar
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Virginia Pertillar

Staff - Executive Director
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Phone: (860) 223-7222
Virginia Pertillar joined Citizens for Quality Sickle Cell Care, Inc., (CQSCC) as Executive Director in June 2009.  Virginia's professional background includes serving as Director of Membership and Volunteers Services for Girl Scouts of Connecticut.  Virginia also served as Director of the ...
Beatrice Sullivan
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Beatrice Sullivan

Staff - Case Manager
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Beatrice Sullivan is the Citizens for Quality Sickle Cell Care as Patient Advocate Systems Navigator.  She has over twenty  years in the Human Resources Field as well as extensive community involvement in both the Hartford  and Bloomfield area.  Beatrice is very excited about her  position as ...
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Meryl Lancaster

Board of Directors - President
Cheryl Ramiz, PMP
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Cheryl Ramiz, PMP

Board of Directors - Treasurer
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Cheryl is a Sr. Business Consultant and Project Manager at The Hartford Insurance Group.  She has her Masters Degree in Management from Cambridge College and a Masters Certification in Project Management from George Washington University.  Cheryl joined CQSCC in 2007 after the birth ...
Daileann Hemmings, MSN, BSN, RN
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Daileann Hemmings, MSN, BSN, RN

Board of Directors - Vice President
Daileann is a Registered Nurse. Currently, Daileann is obtaining her master’s in nursing with a focus in community/ public health at the University of Hartford, with a prospective graduation of May 2011. She is presently a staff nurse on the Women’s Health unit at Hartford Hospital. For two ...
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Joseph Ubaike

Board of Directors - Secretary
Olusegun Odesina, Ph.D, CSIT
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Olusegun Odesina, Ph.D, CSIT

Board of Directors - Member At Large
Gregory Osakwe
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Gregory Osakwe

Board of Directors -
Gregory Osakwe is an attorney at Law in Hartford, Connecticut with over 20 years experience in the legal field .His primary area of focus is Immigration Law, although he spent several years as a successful Criminal Defense Attorney. He is an active member of several professional organizations, ...
EseOghene Ogbu-Sifo
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EseOghene Ogbu-Sifo

Board of Directors -
EseOghene Ogbu-Sifo (Ese) was born in Lagos, Nigeria and schooled in Nigeria and Leeds, United Kingdom. He suffers from sickle cell disease (SS). Four years after his birth, his younger sister was born with the disease as well. From an early age, Ese accepted the challenge of not only living with ...
Andrew Sylvestre
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Andrew Sylvestre

Board of Directors -
Andrew has been active in the communications and business development fields for the last four years. Most recently he has acted in a sales capacity, tasked with raising revenue and expanding the client list of Seal Best LLC, a paving and sealing company based in West Hartford, Connecticut. While ...
What is Sickle Cell

sickle cellSickle Cell Disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Normal red blood cells are round like doughnuts Healthy Cell, and they move through small blood tubes in the body to deliver oxygen. Sickle red blood cells Sickle Cell become hard, sticky and shaped like sickles used to cut wheat. When these hard and pointed red cells go through the small blood tube, they clog the flow and break apart. This can cause pain, damage and a low blood count, or anemia.

What makes the red cell sickle?

There is a substance in the red cell called hemoglobin that carries oxygen inside the cell. One little change in this substance causes the hemoglobin to form long rods in the red cell when it gives away oxygen. These rigid rods change the red cell into a sickle shape Sickle Cell instead of the round shape Healthy Cell.

How do you get sickle cell disease?

You inherit the altered hemoglobin from your parents, who may be carriers with sickle cell trait or parents with sickle cell disease. You can not catch it. You are born with the sickle cell hemoglobin and it is present for life. If you inherit only one sickle gene, you have sickle cell trait. If you inherit two sickle cell genes you have sickle cell disease.

Is it only in African Americans?

Sickle cell is in many nationalities including African Americans, Arabs, Greeks, Italians, Latin Americans, and those from India. You can be Caucasian and have sickle cell disease or trait. All races should be screened for this hemoglobin at birth.

How can I be tested?

A simple blood test called the hemoglobin electrophoresis can be done by your doctor or local sickle cell non-profit organization. This test will tell if you are a carrier of the sickle cell trait or if you have the disease.

Newborn Screening

Most States now perform the sickle cell test when babies are born. The simple blood test will detect sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait . Other types of traits that may be discovered include:

  • Hemoglobin C trait
  • Hemoglobin E trait
  • Hemoglobin Barts - which indicates an alpha thalassemia trait
  • Beta thalassemia trait
What is Sickle Cell trait?

Sickle cell trait is found in a person who carries one sickle hemoglobin producing gene inherited from their parents and one normal hemoglobin gene. Normal hemoglobin is called type A. Sickle hemoglobin called S. Sickle cell trait is the presence of hemoglobin AS on the hemoglobin electrophoresis. This will NOT cause sickle cell disease. Other hemoglobin traits common in the United States are AC and AE traits.

Why is it important to know?

A person inherits genes that produce hemoglobin from his/her parents. It is important to identify people with a hemoglobin trait so they will be aware of their risk of having children with sickle cell disease.

If one parent has sickle cell trait and the other parent has normal hemoglobin, there is a 50 percent (1 in 2) chance with each pregnancy that the child will be born with sickle cell trait.

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If both parents have sickle cell trait or another hemoglobin trait, there is a 25 percent chance (1 in 4) with each pregnancy that the child will have sickle cell disease.

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Health Guidelines

Get regular checkups from knowledgeable health care providers.

If your baby has a sickle cell disorder, be sure he or she receives the appropriate immunizations at the correct intervals.

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Visit a genetic counselor; counseling and education regarding the trait are important because the sickle gene can be passed to a carrier’s children.

Be sure children with sickle cell disease begin taking penicillin by 3 months of age and continue until at least 5 years of age.

Take multivitamins and folic acid supplements.

Drink plenty of water daily (8-10 glasses).

Avoid over-exertion and stress.

Avoid too hot or too cold temperatures.

While a special diet is not necessary, eat three well-balanced meals each day.

Keep a positive mental attitude