As some of you may know, when I was 21 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune blood disorder called Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP). I learned that ITP is a rare autoimmune blood disease and a diagnosis of exclusion. Patients diagnosed with ITP have low platelets. The foremost job of platelets is to form clots and stop bleeding, but they are also responsible for assuring the integrity of the blood vessel walls. Low platelet levels can result in dangerous internal bleeding and bruising.
For me personally, the most difficult part of living with ITP was how it impacted my quality of life. From the amount of time I devoted to getting blood tests, going to the doctor and waiting for test results, coupled with the symptoms of the disease, learning to live well with ITP was incredibly challenging. While my friends were out socializing and enjoying the last few months of college, I spent most of my free time at the doctor’s office and adjusting to the difficulties that come with this disease.
The emotional roller coaster, fatigue, and interruptions to life that accompany ITP can be scary and frustrating. ITP is unique because there is no right treatment for any one patient. It is heart-breaking to realize that children/adults are passing away from this disease because not enough people understand or even recognize what it is, and lives go unnoticed as a result.
I have chosen to run the NYC marathon on November 5th to inspire others, raise money for research so we can find a cure, and support the patients/families who have ITP. I am determined to raise at least $16,000.
From organizing fundraising 5km walk/runs to running half marathons and now a full marathon in support of ITP awareness and PDSA, I have managed to create more positive experiences with this disease than negative ones. My continued motivation year after year truly comes from speaking to other patients and hearing their stories.
The support from PDSA and the ITP community has made living with ITP much more manageable. This year I hope to raise at least $16,000 for PDSA by running my first marathon, which will be one of the greatest challenges of my life.
Thank you in advance for your help. Anything and everything is appreciated.