Jennifer Necker runs her dog Lorna last weekend in the Sandia Dog Obedience Club agility trial in Albuquerque. Courtesy photo
Most of us take for granted the bumps and bruises and scrapes we get from doing some of our favorite sports or activities; but for people suffering from ITP, immune thrombocytopenia purpura, the bumps and bruises cannot be taken lightly.
About 200,000 in the United States suffer from ITP, an autoimmune disorder that results in dangerously low platelet levels in the blood. The immune system, often for unknown reasons, flags the platelets as foreign bodies and the spleen then removes the platelets from circulation. Platelets are small components that help the blood clot. A person with ITP is at a higher risk of bruising and bleeding. ITP affects 10 times as many people as hemophilia, yet most people, and some doctors, know nothing about it.
To raise awareness of the disorder, September has been designated ITP Awareness month with Friday, Sept. 26 being “Sport Purple for Platelets Day.”
Jennifer Necker, a sophomore at Los Alamos High School, who was diagnosed with ITP a year and a half ago, has been battling the highs and lows of having ITP. This month, as part of ITP Awareness month, Necker has been doing her part to inform people about ITP. She asked her teammates and coaches on the LAHS golf team to wear purple ribbons at the fall season’s home opening tournament. Last weekend, she contacted the New Mexico dog agility community and asked them to wear purple at an agility trial in Albuquerque. Necker communicated information on ITP with a purple informational poster, stickers and ribbons. The purple support was everywhere. Many of the handlers also made donations to Pennies for Platelets, a non-profit fund that promotes research, education and advocacy for ITP.
Now, with Friday being “Sport Purple for Platelets Day,” Necker is asking everyone to wear purple to promote awareness of this rare disorder. She says, “put on your purple tops, bottoms, ties, sneakers, socks and jewelry. The more purple you can sport the more attention you will bring to ITP!”
For more information on ITP, visit the Platelet Disorder Support Association website at www.pdsa.org.