LONDON, May 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its work to increase awareness of the challenges faced by people with bleeding disorders, the Haemophilia Society today launched its Buddy Award scheme, with the help of Dick and Dom, at a packed launch event at the House of Commons.
The annual awards have been created to recognise the vital support provided by the families, carers, friends and teachers of children with bleeding disorders. With sponsorship from Novo Nordisk (which has specialist expertise in this therapy area), the event involved a photo shoot outside Parliament, where MPs and young people with bleeding disorders were joined by the popular comedy duo, Dick and Dom (BBC Children's TV presenters Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood).
A cross-party group of 35 parliamentarians, as well as some 150 youngsters and their parents, attended the subsequent lunch reception, hosted by Owen Smith MP. The launch was enlivened by an entertaining speech from Dick and Dom and a passionate call to arms from the chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, Chris James. Novo Nordisk's UK Managing Director, Viggo Birch, also spoke at the event.
"The fact that most people know little or nothing about bleeding disorders can cause real problems - especially for children", said Chris James. "These awards not only recognise the vital support children get from those around them but I hope they will also help more people understand what life is really like for children with bleeding disorders."
The lack of public awareness of such disorders means that families and friends take on a great deal of responsibility for their sibling/friend and this often goes unnoticed, and the awards celebrate the invaluable contribution they make while also drawing public attention to the plight of this vulnerable and often forgotten patient group.
To pave the way for the presentation of the first crop of Buddy Awards at a formal ceremony later this year, nomination forms were distributed and the young people took advantage of the opportunity to chat with MPs and take away a personal souvenir photo of a very special day.
About the Haemophilia Society
The Haemophilia Society is an independent national organisation that works with the NHS to provide information and support for people with bleeding disorders.
About Novo Nordisk
Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 87 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. For more information, visit novonordisk.com.
Haemophilia is a congenital bleeding disorder that affects males. It is estimated that about 400,000 males have Haemophilia A or B.
Patients with haemophilia A have either absent, decreased or defective production of the blood clotting protein, Factor VIII (FVIII). Those with haemophilia B have similar problems with Factor IX (FIX). Haemophilia is characterised as "severe" when the activity of the affected clotting factor (FVIII or FIX) is less than 1% of normal. Severe Haemophilia is often associated with spontaneous bleeding, i.e. not caused by injury. Approximately 50% of haemophilia patients have severe disease and can require treatment for bleeding several times per month.
Severe haemophilia usually becomes apparent in the first years of life - often as the child starts to move about independently. Haemorrhages often occur in the joints, particularly knees and ankles. These joint bleeds can cause severe pain and often permanent damage and disability if not treated properly. In addition, trauma, major surgery, tooth extractions or other minor surgical interventions require medical intervention to manage the associated bleeding.
One of the most feared complications of the treatment of haemophilia is the development of 'inhibitors'. 'Inhibitors' are antibodies to FVIII or FIX that can develop in patients with haemophilia. The incidence of inhibitors complicating treatment of haemophilia A and B is approximately 30% in haemophilia A and 3 to 5% in haemophilia B patients. Most of these antibodies develop during childhood. The management of haemophilia patients with inhibitors is difficult.
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SOURCE The Haemophilia Society