I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your response to our recent appeal for donations and thank you sincerely for supporting Perth Blood Institute’s (PBI) vision of a ‘world without blood disorders’. As we continue to strive towards blood disorders becoming a thing of the past, I recognise this life-changing work would not be possible without the support we receive from our community of loyal followers.

Thanks to people like you, PBI’s research team was the first to understand the complexity of microRNAs control on blood coagulation factors – Protein S and Tissue Factor – leading to the discovery of a mechanism of oestrogen-mediated thrombosis in 2021. This breakthrough has provided crucial information on understanding microRNAs' action and its link to coagulation processes and is a powerful tool to have in developing personalised precision medicines.

While this has been an incredible achievement, it is of vital importance that we continue to build on this knowledge and ensure that it is supported into the future. We need to continue to advance our understanding of blood disorders through scientific discovery. This is challenging but necessary.

I am passionate about changing the lives of people living with blood disorders as they learn how to respond and adjust to the demanding impacts of their lifelong illness.  At PBI, we believe the best way to make this change is through research to find out which treatments work better for patients and seeking innovative treatments that may ultimately cure blood disorders.

Today I invite you to help with the progress of scientific innovation by donating to PBI. Whether large or small, every donation makes a valuable contribution to our goal of ‘making blood disorders a thing of the past’. It is through research that we have the hope of spending more time with our precious loved ones and see them flourish in life, free from the impacts of living with debilitating blood disorders.

Your generous gift will provide the tools to enable us to help advance the prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of life-threatening thrombotic disorders such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and clot-provoked stroke. Your involvement also helps advance haematological research into both common and rare fatal blood diseases.

Please read about Bridget below. Her story offers a glimpse into understanding how hard she found performing simple life tasks living with a blood disorder. 

Bridget was 35 (years old) and 25 weeks into her third pregnancy when she started feeling unusually hot and exhausted more often than not. While things seemed different to Bridget in comparison with her first two pregnancies, she assumed it was just normal pregnancy symptoms and tried to manage the best she could. 

She started arriving early for the school pick up so that she could drive into the front car park to reduce her walk to collect her two boys. But she wondered why she felt so out of breath in this pregnancy. She would watch other pregnant mums at the school pick up and notice they weren’t struggling as much as her even though they were more advanced. Walking and talking at the same time was simply too difficult for Bridget because it made her feel out of breath.

“I would watch the other mums at pick up and couldn’t understand why they were so much more at ease with their pregnancies, walking and talking at the same time, even though they were more weeks along than me. It made me feel as though I wasn’t coping. I felt ashamed.”

Even though Bridget was fit and healthy, exercising regularly before she became pregnant, she thought she must have been unfit and therefore not coping as well as she should. One afternoon when she went to pick her boys up from school, they wanted to tell her about their day, but Bridget was so exhausted and felt so out of breath that she didn’t have the strength to talk to them.

“I felt like bursting into tears because I couldn’t find the strength to talk to my boys after school.”

Eventually after a series of tests, Bridget was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism (PE), a blood clot in her lungs. She had no warning signs, no family history of blood clots, and had never heard of a pulmonary embolism or its risk factors.

At first Bridget felt confused and couldn’t understand why she needed tests on her lungs. She was told to go to the hospital immediately and get in contact with her husband.

“I had no idea of the severity of my condition.”

It wasn’t until Bridget was admitted to hospital that she began to realise the seriousness of having PE. She remembers being told by the nurses to get back into bed and not push herself when she wanted to get up for a short walk. It was at this exact moment when Bridget understood the severity of her PE.

While Bridget’s condition was serious and scary, she was told by the same nurses that she was going to be ok.

“I felt so incredibly lucky; I was told that I was going to be ok.” 

Bridget was advised she was going to need anticoagulant medication injected into her stomach or thighs twice daily throughout her pregnancy, as well as the months that followed. Unfortunately, the anticoagulant medication was slow to administer and painful, leaving a lot of bruising and it was very upsetting for Bridget. The whole process made her feel emotional and vulnerable. She needed to endure over 250 painful injections over a seven-month period. 

“I felt emotional and vulnerable, and the anxiety associated with such a task as well as the stress surrounding my pending birth was very challenging.”

Bridget was advised she needed to rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. She lost all her fitness as she had to spend so much time resting.  She could no longer be the active and fun mum to her young boys that she wanted to be.

“I had no idea what a pulmonary embolism was, nor did I know it could be a problem during pregnancy leading to serious consequences. The warning signs were very clear, but I mistook them as general pregnancy symptoms.”

Bridget is proud of getting through the difficult journey she had to face. She is now running again and is back to being the fun-loving and energetic mum she had been before her illness.

“Now I know about the dangers of having PE, I feel so incredibly lucky. I know that I am one of the lucky ones. Things could have been so much worse.”

As a result of what she experienced with PE, Bridget is hugely passionate about raising awareness. Through her Midnight Mums online network, she is committed to educating women about the signs and symptoms of thrombosis during pregnancy. She is also an advocate of PBI’s Thrombosis Australia online initiative.  

“Developing thrombosis during pregnancy was a huge eye-opener. It made me appreciate my life, health, and fitness more; I couldn’t wait to feel ‘healthy’ again; I couldn’t wait to be able to walk and talk at the same time without feeling breathless.”

When you donate to PBI, your charitable contribution is tax deductable. I ask for your generosity and support to help our researchers understand the causes of blood disorders and to develop new ways of preventing and treating them, to ultimately find the breakthrough to a cure. An investment in medical research today will help to uncover the treatments of tomorrow.

I’m asking you to give what you can. Whatever you give, your donation will provide funding for our researchers to advance new treatments and facilitate clinical trials. Every amount is vital to our research, no matter how large or small. Your donation ensures the development of next generation treatments and therapies, making an incredible difference today and into the future. Thank you for your support, I am truly grateful.

Kind regards,

 

Professor Ross Baker

Chair, Perth Blood Institute

 

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