Pump It Up for Platelets - Orange County, CA 2019

Melissa's Honey Bees

Melissa in Greek translates to Honey Bee! Please join my team to raise awareness for Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) and the Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA)! We are the beez neez!

Melissa's Journey:

One day I woke up with bruises all down my legs and the next week I was being told to go straight to the emergency room because I could be bleeding internally. It was then that I learned about platelets and the dangers of when your body doesn't have enough. ITP is a rare auto-immune disorder where the body mounts an attacks on your healthy platelets leading to excessive bruising and bleeding. The exact cause is still unknown and can differ from person to person. There is no cure for ITP - just different treatments that have varying success rates depending on the patient. I was 1 out of 100,000 people to get diagnosed and I had just completed my freshmen year in college.

I got my blood drawn every two weeks for just over a year hoping that my platelets would hold a high enough number to not be in the hospital. I took steroids for a few months which were only a temporary fix since my platelets would fall every time I tried to lower my dosage. Moving on to a different treatment option, I decided to have my spleen removed, just in time for midterms. It is arguably thought that your spleen can play a role in platelet destruction and being a young, technically healthy and active young adult the success rate seemed promising. Unfortunately, two weeks after surgery my platelets fell again and I was put back on steroids. A few months later, during my final exams, my platelets fell so low that I got a bloody nose and petechiae all down my legs. When I went to my hematologist they told me that my platelet count was so low the machine couldn't get any readings and I needed a platelet transfusion. The same day I started an intravenous treatment that targets your body's B-cells. This treatment was originally approved for treating B-cell non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis but has shown to be successful for some ITP patients. Once a week for four weeks my mom took me to the cancer center for my all day treatment and typically spent the weekend recovering. Whether it is a combination of everything or something specific I am happy to say that since then I have been in remission for 8 years. 

The feeling of not knowing what is wrong with you while never hearing about ITP before is something I will never forget. This is the main reason why we continue to host the 5K event year after year. I have had a close friend and one of my bosses both have a family member get diagnosed with ITP. Being able to provide them with the best and most current information possible and seeing some of the worry wash from their face is such a rewarding feeling. We hope you join us for some fun in the sun and you learn a little something for our 5K. It takes one conversation to change someone else's life with ITP and we want to help you be ready for it.

Don't forget to check out The Journeys page to read all about my co-hosts and their family's ITP journey.

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