Christian Opportunity Center (COC) program coordinator Ruth Ann Triplett is giving life this holiday season through PROFNAIT, a collaborative project aiming to develop a safe, new treatment that prevents excessive bleeding in fetuses and newborns.
PROFNAIT is developing a prophylactic drug from human plasma, but the plasma needs to contain certain antibodies present in women who already have given birth to a child with Fetal and Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia (FNAIT/NAIT), a condition which may result in too few blood platelets to stop the bleeding.
As a mother who gave birth to two children (Ellamae and Easton) with the condition, Ruth Ann felt called to take action. Both children are leading happy and healthy lives, but as she learned in an online support group…not all babies are as fortunate.
“I heard about the PROFNAIT project through a Facebook support group for families affected by NAIT called ‘Naitbabies,’” Ruth Ann said. “Many babies die or are disabled due to this disease. I would do anything to help prevent this blood disorder, so I signed up.”
Plasma collection centers for this project are located in Norway, Sweden, Germany and the United States. Ruth Ann drives the three-hour round trip to Iowa’s lone donation center, Biotest in Iowa City, because she believes it may save a life.
“The blood product used to save my son’s life was made from antibodies extracted from the plasma of more than one thousand donors,” Ruth Ann said. “If you have had a baby with this condition…donate. Donate blood, donate platelets, donate plasma; all save lives.”
For more information and to find the nearest donation center visit http://www.profnait.eu/ or connect with PROFNAIT project on Facebook. To learn more about NAIT visit http://www.naitbabies.org/ or connect with Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia Support Group on Facebook.
Founded in 1969, COC provides residential and vocational support and services to 250 people with disabilities in Marion, Mahaska, Warren and Polk counties. For more information visit https://christianopportunity.org/ or connect with Christian Opportunity Center on Facebook and IowaCOC on Twitter.