I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your faith and continued support of the Perth Blood Institute. Our achievements would not be possible without the invaluable support we receive from our incredible community of supporters.

We know that 70% of blood clots are preventable if treated early and that thrombosis can strike at any age and any time. All members of the community are at risk including young people, pregnant women, and elite sportspeople. Being armed with this knowledge is just one of the many reasons why we continue to drive research and awareness programs to find solutions to real-world blood disorder problems. It is our goal that blood disorders become a thing of the past, so the community and our loved ones can enjoy long, rich, and full lives without pain and discomfort.

As Christmas draws near, and we begin reflecting on the year that was and enter another joyous season of giving, I invite you to make a gift to the Perth Blood Institute. Your contribution is an investment into innovative medical research, clinical trials, and the development of community and professional education programs. Your generosity makes an incredible difference to not only the ones we love but to so many, and would not be possible without you, our loyal supporters.

I would like to share Nicole’s journey about the challenges she has faced, living with recurrent thrombosis. At 28 years of age, Nicole was fighting off what she thought was the flu, when she suddenly became incredibly unwell. Her body ached, her head pounded, and she was extremely thirsty and nauseous. 

“I knew something was really wrong” Nicole

Nicole’s GP made a house call and, as soon as he took her temperature and listened to her heart, called an ambulance. It turned out the flu she thought she was fighting was bacterial endocarditis and she had a severe infection attacking the mitral valve of her heart. 

The infection had damaged her heart valve, and she was in the early stages of heart failure and in need of open-heart surgery. Nicole spent the next 10 weeks in hospital fighting off the infection and undergoing mitral valve replacement surgery.  However, the consequence of the surgery was that she would now be on medication for the rest of her life to prevent blood clots forming on the artificial valve. 

Since the surgery Nicole continued to require blood tests as often as three times a week to monitor her INR level (international normalised ratio), which is used to measure the time taken for blood to clot and to monitor blood-thinning medicines. This ensured she was taking the right dose of medication to keep her blood in the correct range. 

Several years later, unexpectedly, Nicole had a mini stroke (transient ischemic attack).  Her INR had dropped below therapeutic levels and small blood clots had formed on her heart valve and gone up to her brain.

“It was very scary; one minute I was talking with my dog trainer and the next, my right arm went numb, and I couldn’t hold onto the lead anymore. I tried to answer a question he asked me, and I couldn’t get the words out, I could only slur. I knew I was having a stroke” Nicole

She was taken to hospital, where she had a second mini stroke while waiting to be seen by the doctor. Nicole needed injections in her stomach for 14 days until her levels stabilised and she was back in the therapeutic range. But then, four weeks later Nicole had another mini stroke, however this time her INR was in the therapeutic range, so the doctors didn’t understand why this had happened.

Nicole was referred to Professor Baker who was able to determine that adjustments to her medication regime would work on a different part of the clotting process to give her better protection against the risk of further blood clots.

“I’m incredibly lucky to have Professor Baker as part of my team of doctors as I know he will keep me safe” Nicole

However, once Nicole was better protected against blood clots forming on her valve, a new problem was created.  She was no longer able to take the contraceptive pill because it increased the chance of stroke, and she was taking two anti-coagulants.  This caused havoc with her menstrual cycle as she began to bleed severely. Excessive heavy bleeding left her incredibly distressed, lethargic, and anaemic.

After consultation with her medical team and much consideration, Nicole decided the best option was to have her fallopian tubes removed.  The surgery went well, and Nicole was recovering when, nine days later, she haemorrhaged. It took three trips to surgery and some ingenious techniques from her doctors to control the bleeding.  It was a tricky balancing act to keep her INR level thin enough to keep her safe from stroke but thick enough so she would stop haemorrhaging.

“I didn’t realise when I had the heart surgery years ago that so many issues would arise because of it” Nicole

Nicole has essentially been made a ‘bleeder’ to keep her safe from blood clots and stroke but keeping her safe in this way presents its own set of issues. 

“I would like to acknowledge the expertise of Professor Baker and the support of the Perth Blood Institute in the care of people with blood disorders” Nicole

Nicole is grateful that, each time something has happened, she has come through with the support of her medical team. 

It is because of your generosity and the simple act of making a gift that we can fund research to advance new treatments, help facilitate clinical trials of new drugs and therapies, and provide education for health professionals and the community, to ultimately make blood disorders a thing of the past. I invite you to give what you can.

Our efforts are built on the philanthropy of our wonderful supporters. It would not be possible to do this life-changing work without the generous contributions we receive from our donors. Every donation brings us closer to the realisation of our vision of ‘a world in which people do not suffer from blood disorders’. No matter how large or small, your gift is an integral part of what we do, and we are so grateful for your support.

With the Christmas season upon us, I wish you joy during this season and hope that you make wonderful memories enjoying the simple things that make life beautiful.

Kind regards,


Professor Ross Baker

Chair, Perth Blood Institute