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Team & Founders

The Founders

Marqus Valentine (1983-2020)

Co-Founder
Marqus Valentine is a Co-Founder of Sick Cells. Diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, Hgb ss at 6 months old, he has had a tough time managing the disease. As a child, he spent countless weeks hospitalized. He repeated grades because he missed so much school and was even granted a trip to Disney World by Children’s Hopes and Dreams because he was given a life expectancy of 10 years old.
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Ashley Valentine

Co-Founder
Ashley is a Co-Founder and the President of Sick Cells, and the youngest sibling of her family. Her older brother and Co-Founder of Sick Cells, Marqus Valentine, has sickle cell anemia, Hgb ss. Growing up, Ashley spent much of her childhood charming hospital playroom attendants while Marqus was frequently hospitalized for pain crises, fever, and multiple complications from SCD.
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The Inspiration:
The Valentine Family

Francesca Valentine, MSN RN

Francesca Valentine is a nurse, the clinical adviser for Sick Cells, and a carrier of sickle cell trait. Fran received her diploma in nursing in 1982. She continued her education years later to receive her bachelor in nursing in 1992. She has dedicated her life to ensuring quality care for veterans and their families.
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Angelo Valentine

Angelo Valentine, is a Union Electrician, the comic relief for Sick Cells, and a sickle cell trait carrier. He is often known as Uncle Dude and the "laughs guy" for the Valentine family. Angelo was screened for sickle cell trait before having children. He was told that he was not a carrier. When Fran was pregnant with Marqus, Angelo learned he had sickle cell trait through blood work prior to a dental procedure.
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Kevin Valentine

Kevin Valentine is a dynamic music composer. Kevin understood at a young age how SCD caused emotional, financial, and physical pain on the family. Kevin used music as an outlet when dealing with his brother’s illness.

Currently, Kevin DJs in Europe and composes electronic music, tying together formal musical training with the various sounds that he hears throughout his life.

The Sick Cells Team

Ashley Valentine

Co-Founder
Ashley is a Co-Founder and the President of Sick Cells, and the youngest sibling of her family. Her older brother and Co-Founder of Sick Cells, Marqus Valentine, has sickle cell anemia, Hgb ss. Growing up, Ashley spent much of her childhood charming hospital playroom attendants while Marqus was frequently hospitalized for pain crises, fever, and multiple complications from SCD.
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Abby Tainter

Director of Operations
Abby Tainter is the Director of Operations for Sick Cells. Using her experience in education and administrative positions she joined Sick Cells to help promote a company culture that encourages top performance and high morale by developing and implementing operational policies and procedures as well as overseeing onboarding and training.
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Elodie Ontala

Program Manager
Elodie is a sickle cell warrior who has dedicated her time to advocating for people living with SCD by participating in and conducting research, facilitating focus groups, and connecting patients to community resources. She continues to expand her commitment to this community by being a champion of equity and patient rights. Elodie holds a Masters in Sustainable Peacebuilding and a Bachelor’s in Global studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and speaks 4 languages.
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Arielle Krahenbuhl

Operations and Business Development Coordinator
Arielle S. Krahenbuhl is a social innovator and health advocate who has combined her diverse background in health care administration and community organizing to lead nonprofit and advocacy campaigns throughout her career. She recently completed her Master of Science in Biotechnology with a concentration in Health Science at Johns Hopkins University. Arielle has returned to Sick Cells as the Operations and Business Development Coordinator.
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Mariah Scott

Research Coordinator
Mariah Scott is a sickle cell warrior from New Jersey diagnosed at birth. She received a Master of Science in Microbiology and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology to develop a medical and public health background from Seton Hall University and Rutgers University. She has been involved in sickle cell research for New Jersey developing pediatric to adult care transition programs for sickle cell patients.
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