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Welcome to the Sickle Cell Awareness Foundation Corp Int, an Organization that is Committed to Excellence, come join us as we raise awareness about the relationship between Sickle Cell Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, and Kidney Function. ​Join our family as we open doors of opportunity for volunteering.

​Hello to all my friends and supporters, the 5K Walk /Run Health Forum which was held at Roy Wilkins Park was a huge success in spite of the weather, This walk was held in memory of our son Syd Sotillo who passed away April 20th of this year from complications of sickle cell disease. His Friend Alex Harris came in from California just to be there for us, Marie, the explorers and Officer, many Health Agencies were also present. A Representative from James Sanders's office and the Deputy Majority leader himself was on hand and presented President Merlene Smith-Sotillo with a proclamation on behalf of the Organization. We thank everyone for their participation and commitment and look forward to the next upcoming event.


Sickle Cell Awareness Foundation Corp. Int is dedicated to bringing awareness, passion, continuing education, and support to those individuals and families with Sickle Cell Disease.

Sickle Cell Awareness Foundation Corp. Int. is a 501 (c)(3) a not for profit organization. Our motto is  ”With us, you can always start fresh.” We are a dedicated group of volunteers from within our community comprised of parents, medical professionals and individuals working together to help hundreds of people to enhance their quality of life dealing with Sickle Cell Disease.


To expand awareness of the genetic condition of Sickle Cell Disease.


To advocate for improved treatment services and accessibility of these services.


To inform what parents, family members, and the community can do to impact this disease condition.


We seek to inspire progress for a much-needed cure for this disease


Merlene Smith-Sotillo

President & Ceo.

“Together, we continuously provide services and touch the lives of people we may never meet, through your generousity.”

Merlene Smith-Sotillo of Jamaica Queens was born and raised in the beautiful Island of Trinidad and Tobago West Indies. She always had a special interest in the medical field at a young age. Merlene attended Success Village R C School and later went to Mills High School, where she graduated at the top of her class. Continuing her studies, she attended Geans Secretarial School, graduating with a degree in clerical studies and six months later, she began working at Trinidad Hilton Hotel in the housekeeping department. Merlene worked there for a couple of years than in early 1989, her family migrated to the United States and she began working at McDonald's, advancing to management. Shortly after Merlene decided to further her education; she took several night classes at York College, studying for her G.E.D. and she also took several courses in the medical field because two of her four children have Sickle Cell Disease and she wanted to know as much about this illness as possible.

She questioned about cures and types of treatment for the disease and dealing with situations and the frustration of not being able to get proper treatment and information in her country of Trinidad & Tobago. Merlene Smith-Sotillo's passion for knowledge and information allowed her the opportunity to get involved with various Sickle Cell Organizations in America. In her quest for treatment options and information, she volunteers at Queens Hospital Center which allowed her the opportunity to attend various seminars on the topic of Sickle Cell Disease. While developing her knowledge, she saw the drastic need for education and information on the illness and in August of 2007, Merlene Smith-Sotillo made a decision to bring awareness by starting her own foundation, Sickle Cell Awareness Foundation Corp Int, a not-for-profit organization; by doing so she began blood drive, walk and bike-a-thon, Health Fairs, and a community referral center In 2009, Merlene Smith-Sotillo learned much from the Sickle Cell Act of 2003 and with this, she has obtained much-needed support from a Senator who introduced the sickle cell treatment act S5450 along with help from her community, family, friends, and church members, the Foundation has been a great success.

Merlene Smith-Sotillo has also supported a variety of civic and charitable organizations, including the Cancer Action Council, NAACP, and 1199. Merlene has well over 25 + years of experience in this field. She has assisted many individuals and families in coping with this illness. Her organization seeks to Increase Public Awareness of the Sickle- Cell Disease or trait, through educational ventures, Health Fairs, walk-a-thon, Bike-a-Thon, and Blood Drives. We at the Sickle Cell Awareness Foundation Corp Intl. have been able to accomplish a lot through participating in Public Fund Raisers, and charitable events. We also offer Counseling and Sociological support, which is being provided to those living with this disease. Because of her hard work in the community, Merlene was awarded One Proclamation from Congress and Six from Senators in her District.

Syd Sotillo, 30, of Brooklyn, New York passed away April 20, 2012, as a result of medical issues including sickle cell anemia and heart problems. He was born June 2, 1981, to Merlene and Molino Sotillo. He attended Hillcrest High School and Interboro Institute. Syd Sotillo was the owner of Fortune Millionaire Inc. he was not only a businessman but a son, brother, and most of all a friend to many. He will be greatly missed. The Sotillo family requests your presence in honor of Syd Sotillo. My friend has said goodbye to life. The life we knew as our daily life, but my friend you and I knew, we were always just visitors here.  You left before your time in years, but you and I both knew, that daily life was just a blink of an eye.  You left too soon, but we both knew, our age was just a number, and our years were never a sign of knowledge nor wisdom.  You were my friend from the beginning and now at the end of what my eyes will no longer see, nor my ears will hear no more. Your earthly presence has moved on to the streets of Fortune Millionaire paved of the gold we both talked of so frequently.   Heaven's gates welcomed your spirit intact with the character of a strong and “GENTLE” giant, who believed his fortune was always tucked safely away for the day he’d be taken away.  I’ll hold tight till my dawn arrives; to meet you again renewed in our friendship with NO end. I’ll be missing “YOU” &  me my friend. ~ C. Alvarez

Syd Orland Sotillo

Former Vice President

Our Team


Merlene Smith- Sotillo

President & Founder

Oversees fundraising operations, and is also the organization's chief fundraiser. This involves acting as the primary spokesperson for the organization, recruiting donors, and attending fundraising functions. Act as a liaison to the board of directors.


Molino Sotillo


Oversees fundraising operations, and is also the organization's chief fundraiser. This involves acting as the primary spokesperson for the organization, recruiting donors, and attending fundraising functions. Act as a liaison to the board of directors.

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