The Mentoring Scheme is for people living with sickle cell aged 10-25 in Hackney and City. Sign up for FREE support and advice in our one-to-one mentoring sessions led by peer mentors (June, Whitney and Michael), all of whom have sickle cell themselves. You can read about what the mentors have been up to on Page 17 of our latest Newsletter.


As most of you will know, the Sickle Cell Peer Mentoring Programme has been successful in terms of its engagement with children young people and parents, clinicians, commissioners, including the demand and uptake not just from City and Hackney but from most boroughs across London.

We were also fortunate to have had the opportunity for the programme to be published in the British Journal of Haematology in Spring of 2019 outlining the outcomes of the model on children and young people. Our mentors were at the British Society of Haematology Conference in Glasgow in April 2019 to present their work.

Referrals are now open with some information about the eligibility criteria and perhaps a link to the referral sign-up link here: 

Here is the criteria below. 

  • Children & Young People between the ages of 10-24
  • Must be an East London/Essex resident
  • Children and Young People registered to an East London GP.
  • Children and Young People who are under the care East London Hospitals (i.e Barts NHS Health Trust) and are still an East London/Essex resident.

If you want to make a referral, or have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Sickle Cell Society on 

Addassa Follett – Lead Mentor

Addassa was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Beta Thalassemia+ at 3 months old. Addassa was later diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 3 years old. Therefore, Addassa understands the challenges that come with managing a chronic medical condition. Despite engaging with her healthcare team from a young age, she found growing up with Sickle Cell lonely and found talking about Sickle Cell extremely challenging, she also remembers the frustration that came navigating social life, friendships, and education with not one, but two chronic health conditions. However, with the help of a supportive family network paired with her positive attitude, Addassa has never let Sickle Cell stop her from achieving her goals.

Today, she holds a BA (Hons) in Professional Music Performance and a MA in Music Education and currently works as a Music Educator. Addassa is a determined, passionate individual, who is devoted to making a positive impact on people’s lives. She is a keen academic, whose experience working in higher education and music education, has led to her supporting, mentoring, and teaching individuals and their families from underrepresented backgrounds.

Addassa is also a passionate advocate for promoting and highlighting the physical and psychological impact of Sickle Cell Disorder. As the newly appointed Lead Mentor for the Sickle Cell Society, Addassa believes she can be a role model and bring joy and hope to the many children and young people living with Sickle Cell today. When she is away from work, Addassa enjoys heading out to the best live music venues in London, tucking into a good comedy drama and spending time with her family – dog included!



Whitney Joseph

Whitney was diagnosed with Sickle Cell at six weeks old. Since then, she has managed her condition using daily medication. She has been fortunate enough to have received support for her Sickle Cell but admits that she found it challenging to manage her health throughout her academic studies and to balance her health alongside her career. In the past Whitney found it difficult to talk about Sickle Cell but she is now much more confident in talking about her health and wants to encourage other young people to speak up too.

Whitney currently works as a Banking & Finance lawyer in London. She has worked with a number of charities and organisations over the years to promote issues of diversity & inclusion, social mobility and to raise awareness of living with Sickle Cell. She is particularly interested in supporting young people in managing their health alongside their career goals. She has also helped to promote and encourage blood donations with a focus on donors from African and Caribbean communities.

When she is not at work Whitney can be found trying out one of London’s newest restaurant hotspots, tuned into a Netflix series or visiting a destination from her travel bucket list.


Dunstan – Mentor

Dunstan was diagnosed with the (HbSS) genotype at birth. Growing up with sickle cell was made a little easier thanks to his mum, a nurse and his family support. However, Dunstan faced many challenges and finds it easier at this stage as an adult. Dunstan now understands the triggers of crises and how to manage his condition and general wellbeing. 

Dunstan has a BSc in Bioscience and an MSc in Public Health (Global Health). To date he has spent his career working in the research governance field and now works as a clinical project manager. Dunstan is also a freelance columnist, sharing his experiences and challenges in hope to raise awareness for Sickle cell and Blood donation.  

Outside of work Dunstan loves to travel, try new experiences, and spend time with friends and family. He also supports Manchester United and watches different anime. Dunstan also volunteers with the sickle cell society as part of the Give Blood Spread Love team.  

Dunstan wasn’t always open and honest about his condition which meant there were many difficult challenges faced. With this understanding his objective is to share his experiences in life to help others who may be facing challenges of their own hardships to help them to overcome them.




Lola – Mentor

Lolade’s passion for working with children as been a thread in her life starting with a desire to work and serve with UNICEF growing up and then pursuing a career as an Early Years Teacher.  She has a passion for supporting children and young people in developing confidence, building resilience for the future, and improving children and young people’s outcomes.

Lolade enjoys learning and putting her learning into use. She graduated with a first-class degree in accounting and finance and has a PGCE in early years working to build a good foundation for children in the early years. She currently studied a psychology degree with the aim of becoming an educational psychologist to support children and young people with their learning. She’s keen on becoming a major consultant in early years education with expertise in Child & Education Psychology, Management Consultancy, Special Education, Health, and desires to work with the Centre on Developing Child Harvard University. She has worked in the past as a finance assistant, early years teacher, Sunday school teacher, event design assistant and continues to work in partnership directly or indirectly with organisations, government, parents, who seek to improve the quality of children and young people.

Lolade was diagnosed with sickle cell at six months old and has a commitment for improving / supporting people living with the sickle cell condition.  She’s involved in an impactful way supporting young adults with sickle cell in her community but seeks to expand this impact.  She has volunteered with the society in the past and very keen on mentoring young people with sickle cell in her community.

Lolade is currently training with the ChildLine/NSPCC as a volunteer ChildLine counsellor to support younger people and has also volunteered with the society in the past. When not busy, Lolade enjoys listening to music, travelling, writing poems and spending time with friends and family.