Sickle Cell Scholarship Award celebrates 10th Anniversary

Dotty Nicholas

The Dotty Nicholas Sickle Cell Scholarship Award is celebrating its 10th anniversary, honoring the memory of Walter Clement Noel, a young Black West Indian dental student who played a significant role in the understanding of Sickle Cell Disease. In 1910, Dr. James B. Herrick described the peculiar elongated and sickle-shaped red blood cells found by Noel, marking the first documentation of sickle cell anemia in Western medicine.
Canada, known for its multiculturalism, particularly in Ontario, is home to a diverse population, including immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and South Asian countries. Immigration has played a significant role in the global spread of the sickle cell gene, starting with the era of slavery and continuing as people move across countries.
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is the most prevalent genetic disorder worldwide, characterized by the presence of hemoglobin S, leading to continuous red blood cell hemolysis and various complications. Ontario has been at the forefront of raising awareness about the disease, with nurses, doctors, and community advocates dedicating their efforts to supporting those affected. Lillie Johnson, a pioneer in this field, founded the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario in 1982, providing valuable services to the sickle cell community.
Recognizing the challenges faced by young adults with sickle cell disease, Dotty Nicholas, a registered nurse at Scarborough Health Network, established the Dotty Nicholas Sickle Cell Scholarship in 2013. The scholarship aims to support individuals affected by sickle cell disease both physically and educationally. It provides financial assistance to those pursuing postsecondary education, as many face difficulties completing their studies due to frequent hospitalizations and the stress associated with the disease.
Over the past 10 years, the scholarship has been awarded to 37 recipients, leading to a significant increase in the percentage of young adults entering college or university for postsecondary education, rising from 25 percent to approximately 75 percent. Previous recipients have gone on to successful careers as nurses, computer technicians, dental assistants, and social workers.
On June 17th, the 10th Anniversary Dotty Nicholas Sickle Cell Scholarship Award ceremony will be held at Global Kingdom Ministries in Scarborough, Ontario. Ten scholarships will be presented, with the possibility of additional awards based on funding. The event will feature testimonials from past scholarship recipients who have completed their postsecondary education successfully. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about ongoing support through the scholarship fund.
To attend the ceremony, tickets can be purchased through the website or by contacting The Jerk House. No tickets will be available at the door on the evening of the event. The Dotty Nicholas Sickle Cell Scholarship Award continues to make a difference in the lives of individuals with sickle cell disease, providing them with educational opportunities and empowering them to achieve their goals.