Teonna Woolford was born and raised in Baltimore Maryland. She has always been talkative, friendly, and full of life. She has Sickle Cell Anemia SS and has faced numerous health complications as a result. A true fighter at heart, she has recovered from numerous complications including bilateral hip replacements, a failed bone marrow transplant, many pain crises, and several other complications. She has a zeal for effecting change throughout the Sickle Cell community and understands the realities of those impacted by the disease.
While sickle cell has been a huge part of Teonna’s life, she does her best not to let sickle cell define who she is. Teonna has had opportunities to discuss sickle cell advocacy with world leaders including Former First Lady Michlle Obama and Congressman John Lewis. She has been blessed to sit at some incredible tables and contributed to publications and working committees with the American Society of Hematology and NHLBI. She is also the founder and CEO of a new nonprofit organization, The Sickle Cell Reproductive Health Education Directive.
Sickle Cell Reproductive Education Directive (SC RED) was conceptualized in 2020 and established as a 501c3 nonprofit on April 8th, 2021. Our co-founder and CEO, Teonna Woolford sought to create the organization because she felt defeated by fertility struggles after a bone marrow transplant. When researching and seeking resources for fertility preservation, she found very little information about fertility and sickle cell and no resources to help pay for the costly procedure.
Teonna reached out to Dr. Lydia Pecker, a pediatric hematologist, about starting an organization that could provide fertility preservation grants to sickle cell warriors undergoing curative therapies. Dr. Pecker, whose research areas include fertility and reproductive health of sickle cell patients, was excited to hear Teonna’s vision and agreed much more needed to be done to improve both policies and health care practices.
World-renowned hematologist Dr. Kim Smith-Whitley joined the cause after meeting Teonna at a conference where she presented on the reproductive health needs at different stages of life. Together these three powerful women founded an organization that advocates for high quality reproductive health care for individuals living with all types of sickle cell disease.