Publish date: 27 June 2022


On Saturday 25 June, UCLH partnered with North Middlesex University Hospital  and Whittington Health to run a summer sickle cell event at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for children and young people with sickle cell disorder.

Over 300 young children, teenagers and their families enjoyed a fun and educational Summer Sickle Cell event at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The event saw paediatric teams from three London NHS trusts: UCLH, North Middlesex and Whittington Health, team up to launch further support for local families affected by sickle cell disease. Families had access to support and advice from several charities that attended on the day, and educational and inspirational events like transition workshops to prepare families with young sickle cell warriors for their adult care.

Two standout parts of the day were the Ask the Experts live Q&A and the Sickle Success inspirational panel, where families heard from inspirational adults, including journalists, who live with sickle cell. Alongside this, there was plenty of fun throughout with an arts and crafts table, magicians and entertainers, football shootout games, and bouncy castles.

Helping raise awareness on the day were former Tottenham Hotspur captain Ledley King, Capital Xtra DJ Yinka Bokinni and B Positive Choir, who closed the event in style. The choir featured on Britain’s Got Talent and is made up of people from across the UK, some of whom have sickle cell or have family members and friends with sickle cell. 

During their performance, members spoke passionately to children and young people with sickle cell about ensuring they don’t let their illness control the way they live their lives and the importance of increasing blood donors from the black community.

Feedback from parents and children who attended concreted the need for these types of events. One attendee named Tinka said: “Events like this are so important so that we can raise awareness about sickle cell. Not just that, but it helps people here connect with others.”

Children and young people with sickle cell face a multitude of acute and chronic complications that can occur from early childhood and the life expectancy for adults with the disorder is sadly shortened. As well as providing families affected by the condition with advice and health promotion, the event also allowed UCLH and our partner trusts to further support children and young people in north London, who are disproportionately impacted by sickle cell.

Speaking before the event, Dr Andrea Leigh, consultant in Paediatrics and Haemoglobinopathies at UCLH, said: “At The Red Cell Network, we’re so excited to be working with Tottenham Hotspur, other charities and nearby hospitals to host this fun family event.

"The event will have a festival feel and will give patients and families a much needed boost. More importantly, it will allow them to connect with each other, share experiences and make friends. Sickle cell experts will also be on hand to give crucial advice and tips to help guide them in their journeys and to help ensure people stay as healthy as possible when living with sickle cell.”