Originally created 03/09/06

Benefit to be held for girl with rare blood-clotting disorder

A benefit will be held Saturday at Fort Discovery for a child suffering from a rare blood disorder.

Julia Smith, 7, the daughter of Alan and Helen Smith, was born with Glanzmann's thrombasthenia, Mrs. Smith said.

"It's a very rare bleeding disorder. A platelet in her blood is missing a protein that's crucial in the clotting process," Mrs. Smith said. "Without that clotting process she can't form an effective clot, and because of that, she has lots of bruises - painful bruises."

The dinner will benefit the Glanzmann's Research Foundation, which funds research by David Wilcox, a doctor in the pediatrics department at the Medical College of Wisconsin, who is "actively pursuing a cure." He will attend the dinner.

"(Dr. Wilcox) has corrected this (the disorder) in human cells in his lab," Mrs. Smith said. "It's very promising that we'll have a cure in the next five to 10 years."

Mrs. Smith said her daughter requires a lot of extra care and regularly gets large bruises.

"Every day, she'll get bruises in places you would not expect to find a bruise, like her palms, the bottoms of her feet, her lips, ears. We have to pick and choose her activities," she said. "If she walks around for an extended period of time - like at the zoo - or participates in PE she ... bleeds behind her knees in the joints and she doesn't realize it's happening until a couple of hours later when she starts to ache. By that evening, she's in so much excruciating pain, she can't walk.

"The scariest part is, a normal stomach virus as well as some antibiotics can and have resulted in life-threatening internal bleeds for her."

Mrs. Smith said she and her husband started a Web site, www.curegt.com, that allows people with the disorder to communicate with one another about their illness. Some of these people will be coming from Detroit, Philadelphia and Ohio to attend the dinner, she said.

Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or samantha.mckevie@augustachronicle.com.

Helping others

WHAT: Discover a Cure dinner

WHEN: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Fort Discovery, 1 Seventh St.

COST: Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased at Chick-fil-A in Augusta Exchange and Moulin Rouge in Surrey Center, or at www.curegt.com

PHONE: 533-4818


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