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Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia Support Group


The Watford Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Support Group started in 1980 to address the lack of understanding and the inadequacy of treatments for Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia sufferers.


We are a Volunteer-led project of the Watford African Caribbean Association (WACA). We give support to both sufferers and carers and raise awareness of the conditions in the wider community.


WACA offers:

  • A safe and friendly approach, sensitive to our clients’ needs

  • A forum for people to share their experiences

  • We provide support, information, education, and guidance based on individuals needs

  • We can act as a resource for schools, hospitals, and churches

Sickle Cell Anaemia and Thalassaemia are both serious hereditary blood disorders where the red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body, develop abnormally. If you have either condition it means that you were born with an abnormal gene from both of your parents.


Complications of these disorders can include stroke, vulnerability to infections, breathing difficulties and chronic pain. The condition has a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.

What is Sickle Cell?

Sickle cell disease is the name for a group of inherited health conditions that affect the red blood cells. The most serious type is called sickle cell anaemia.

Sickle cell disease is particularly common in people with an African or Caribbean family background.

People with sickle cell disease produce unusually shaped red blood cells that can cause problems because they do not live as long as healthy blood cells and can block blood vessels.

Sickle cell disease is a serious and lifelong health condition, although treatment can help manage many of the symptoms.


What is Thalassaemia?

Thalassaemia is the name for a group of inherited conditions that affect a substance in the blood called haemoglobin.

People with thalassaemia produce either no or too little haemoglobin, which is used by red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body.

This can make them very anaemic (tired, short of breath and pale).

It mainly affects people of Mediterranean, south Asian, southeast Asian and Middle Eastern origin.


We have developed strong links with individuals and organisations locally and nationally including the Sickle Cell Society and the lead nurse for Sickle Cell Disease at Watford General Hospital.

We are also proudly a member of the Sickle Cell Society.

To visit out more, please visit their site -

For more information and to find out more about our resources, please contact

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