About Us

It is our mission to serve as an advocate for adults and children in the Northern Virginia area. Heart of Gold Foundation is structured to educate, mentor, and support those that battle with Sickle Cell Disease.


Sickle cell is most common in people of ancestry from Africa, South or Central America, Caribbean Islands, India, Saudi Arabia and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

Our Vision is to give adults and children a place to go to, when they feel as if no one else understands. It is our hope to provide those in the Northern Virginia Area with an organization that is familiar with the daily struggles and limited resources that are often associated with Sickle Cell Disease. The Heart of Gold Foundation, has chosen to be the backbone for a disease that is close to their hearts, because inside all of us their lies a Heart of Gold. When, a person may feel tired of being sick, tired of just being. They should always know, that we are here, because we have been there. And when they need someone to understand or when they need to feel love, here we are.

Clarissa Pearson, Founder & PresidentClarissa Pearson, Founder, Heart of Gold Foundation.
Clarissa received her BA in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University, and her M.Ed from George Mason University.

For 34 years she has battled with Sickle Cell and the sterotypes including the abuse of prescription drugs. She knows all too well what it is like to fight for survival and adequate medical care. It is her goal to erase the stereotypes and get better medical treatment for those with Sickle Cell — one state at a time.

Melanie Pearson-Hurley, Treasurer
Melanie Pearson.Melanie P. Hurley currently serves as the Heart of Gold Sickle Cell Foundation of Northern Virginia Treasurer. In this position, she serves as the liaison with the Statewide Sickle Cell Chapters of Virginia and monitors the grant funding as well as funding obtained through donations and fundraising activities. Melanie has more than 20 years experience in the Federal Government and is committed to “breaking the cycle” of sickle cell disease. Mrs. Hurley is a graduate of Virginia Tech and Central Michigan University.


Edna C. Williams , Administrative Assistant
Edna C. Williams currently serves as the Administrative Assistant to the President of the Heart of Gold Foundation. In this position, MrsEdnaAaron-5944. Williams assistants the President of the Foundation with all administrative duties as well as the Board of Directors. Mrs. Williams has over 38 years experience in the Administrative/Office Management/Facilities field. She has worked for non-profit organizations in the office management capacity and in grant research. Mrs. Williams currently serves as the President, Statewide Sickle Cell Chapters of Virginia. She is employed by SalientCRGT.



Valerie Bey, Public Relations & Media
Valerie Bey has thirty-three years of experience in all aspects of television production and is recipient of more than 50 national awards for public affairs, educational, instructional and senior programming. Her skills include project management, production plannValerie Bey.ing, writing, producing, technical directing, studio and location videotaping and non-linear editing. She is also owner, Valerie Bey Photography and owner/blogger, Bohemian Home Journal. A graduate of VCU, Valerie has a BFA in Communications Arts and Design.



Dr. Clarence Pearson, MD, FACP

Mrs. Darhyl Jasper, R.N.

Alicia Hancock, M.ED

Lisa A. Wilson, 
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney

Mrs. Gaynelle Pearson, R.N., B.S., M.S.N.