In December of 2002 our then 2˝-year-old son, Toby, became violently ill as a result of pressure on his brain caused by hemorrhaging. A seizure was our first indication that something was terribly wrong. He was rushed to Milford Hospital then medflighted to UMass Medical Center in Worcester. Amid many questions and few answers he spent the next four days in a coma in their PICU ward. We were frightened and unsure of any potential long-lasting effects he might be suffering. The great team of doctors who were treating him were initially stumped as to what could be causing this critical blood imbalance. The platelet count in his blood had dropped so low that it was not able to clot and we almost lost him. After a complete blood transfusion, three units of red blood cells, multiple units of platelets, and eventually plasma, he finally opened his eyes again, just three days before Christmas.
Toby was diagnosed with an extremely rare blood disease, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP). This disease affects approximately one in one million adults, and is even more rare in children. For many months after that episode Toby was on a schedule of plasma infusions every three weeks. He made great progress that surprised his doctors and thrilled his family and friends, who knew their prayers had been answered. Today Toby is a healthy, active, energetic and creative 10-year-old. We know in our grateful hearts that without the research that had been done to discover the successful treatment of this rare disease, Toby’s story would not have had such a happy ending.
It was through our desire to somehow show our gratefulness and at the urging of Toby’s godmother, Lynda, that the musical fundraising event Harmony from the Heart was born. We are committed to raising awareness and funds for Dr. Alan Michelson and his talented staff of doctors and researchers at The Center for Platelet Research Studies. It is our hope that they continue to apply their expertise in their search for answers, treatments and cures for this and many other prominent diseases so that other families' prayers will be answered.
Please see Dr. Michelson’s letter.
We thank you for your support,
Mary and Kai Olsson