World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, to draw attention to a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as other related organisations.

Through this year’s ‘Our planet, our health campaign’, WHO are urging governments and the public to share stories of steps they are taking to protect the planet and their health and prioritise well-being societies. In recognition of the 74th World Health Day, we would like to share a few snippets as told by Perth Blood Institute (PBI) patients on how they maintain their physical and mental wellbeing while living with a blood disorder.

David experienced his first deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) in 2004. Four years later, he experienced trouble breathing, pain across his chest and back and was coughing up blood. After symptoms becoming worse in the following hours, David was admitted to the emergency department. After a CT scan, it was confirmed he had a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in his lungs. After both these health scares, David leads a healthier and balanced life where he partakes in a preventative regime to reduce the risk of another blood clot.

Elie was told he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 22 which was quite a shock. Being a personal trainer (which Elie had to give up), he really struggled to sit still – he tried to go for walks, and out for lunch with friends and family, but had to be extremely careful due to his low white blood cell count and risk of infection. After beginning treatment and working with Professor Ross Baker, Elie has been in remission for six years. Following his treatment and recovery, Elie was prompted to rethink his career aspirations and with a desire to ‘give back’, he decided to become a paramedic.

John has a condition called Haemophilia A, which there is no treatment. He experienced long hospital stays in acute pain caused by bleeding into his joints, which at times would make his knees double in size. After deciding to participate in a successful clinical trial at PBI, John is today enjoying a more normal lifestyle, including the confidence to be more active and engage in activities he never previously pursued.

Natalie experienced rib pain and trouble breathing for 24 hours following a surgical operation. She was soon diagnosed with multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms, where multiple blood clots are lodged in either lung. In the years since, Natalie explained that she was always tired and no longer able to do the same activities, but now she is almost back to her original fitness. She now has a more positive attitude and doesn’t ‘sweat the small stuff’; she appreciates what she has, and she makes the most out of her life.

Samantha was diagnosed with a rare condition called Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) where the blood clots in small vessels in the body which can stop oxygen flowing to essential organs. With the excessive amount of blood clotting, platelet numbers become low, therefore leading to bleeding problems, which became life threatening. Samantha felt quite isolated as there wasn’t anyone to speak with experiencing the same symptoms and perhaps similar fears. 

After discovering PBI, Samantha was comforted by the fact there was a place where she could talk about TTP with people who would listen, understand, and support her; and now she doesn’t feel alone anymore.

PBI is honoured to have had the opportunity to work with special patients and families and make a difference to their lives. Thank you to our patients for sharing their personal wellbeing stories as part of World Health Day 2022. 

To read more about the incredible journeys our patients have travelled, visit Our Stories page.