LIVINGSTON, NJ – When Meredith Prescott woke up one morning with only 15,000 platelets, instead of the normal 150,000-400,000, her life was drastically altered. But the 23-year-old used her experience as an ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) patient for good Sunday when she co-hosted the second annual “Pump It Up for Platelets!” 5K walk at the Livingston Oval.
According to Prescott, about 300 people gathered at the Oval to help raise $30,000 to benefit the Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA). The PDSA is the main organization supporting ITP and has enabled Prescott to connect and bond with other patients like her. In fact, the PDSA introduced her to Linda McGuirl, an ITP patient equally devoted to raising awareness and finding a cure. Although the two women are decades apart in age, they share a bond that motivated them to collaborate for this year’s fundraiser. Together, Prescott and McGuirl were able to spread the word about ITP in a way that they might not have been able to on their own.
“A little bit goes along way and that was very evident in today's turn out,” Prescott said. “Today also reminds us how essential it is to give back to those in need and I hope the supporters really saw that at the event.”
Many of the friends and family members who were present at the event made their support of Prescott apparent during their seven laps. Many wrote notes to her in chalk while others spoke highly of her accomplishments and the pride they feel because of it.
“I’ve known Mer since Kindergarten,” Steven Lesser said. “She’s always had a beautifully positive outlook on life that even through tough times inspires those with ITP as well as her friends and family.”
Prescott’s brother, Daniel Prescott, has watched his sister tough it out over the last two years. The family saw the tears of hope and fear in the eyes of other patients and their families. Unfortunately, there are few answers to these patients’ questions and little to no guarantee that chemotherapy, splenectomies or any other treatments will raise their platelet count.
Instead of fear, however, Dan Prescott sees only inspiration in his sister’s eyes. He sees a girl whose frustration has served as a catalyst for her to become an advocate for the ITP community and gets to call her his sister.
“Meredith is not only my older sister but my best friend,” Dan said. “Seeing how strong, determined and resilient she is through this all motivates me each and every day to become the best person I can be.”
According to Prescott, ITP can strike as quickly as it can depart. The disease affects almost 10 times as many people as hemophilia, yet almost no one knows anything about it. Prescott recently wrote about her journey for the Huffington Post, where she explained how determined she was not to let ITP define her.
Prescott also shared her gratefulness toward Livingston as a united community during the event. “I just really want to thank all the sponsors and people who came to show their support. I really am so thankful to have such a supportive town and for people's generosity and kindness. I truly think we are making strides to make a difference and hoping next year will be even more successful.”