5-year-old JJ Amisano of Niskayuna, Schenectady County, was diagnosed with Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) at age 3. ITP is a blood disorder characterized by a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood. According to the Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA), ITP affects at least 3,000 children in the U.S. each year. September is ITP Awareness Month.

As part of his treatment regimen, JJ has received several Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) transfusions, a treatment made possible by the generosity of blood donors. After blood is collected and tested, the immunoglobulin is separated from a donor’s plasma and is then purified and prepared for transfusion. On average, it takes more than 1,000 blood donations to make just one IVIG treatment.

We’re happy to report that JJ is making remarkable progress.

Learn more about JJ from his mother, Courtney Amisano:

“JJ is five years old and was diagnosed with ITP in June 2019 at just 3 years old.  Since diagnosis, he’s endured over 110 ‘pokes.’  He has been on oral and IV steroids, had 14 IVIG infusions (thanks to generous donors), WinRho® infusions, and six emergent hospital says. He is now classified as having chronic ITP.

“JJ’s life changed the moment he was diagnosed with ITP as he spent much of his childhood in and out of the hospital, or at home recovering from medication side effects. In between treatments, life at home was anything but normal as symptoms from the disease and safety interventions took priority over typical childhood experiences.  These days were long, hard, scary, and incredibly emotional.  But in the process, JJ has remained resilient, strong, brave, and courageous.  Despite the rollercoaster of his ITP journey, he has grown from his experiences in unimaginable ways.  JJ has developed close and irreplaceable relationships with people we have met through the hospital, has learned more socialization skills, kindness for others, and he has shown how fearless he is by tackling life and obstacles head on.  He’s remarkably resilient and despite the difficult times, remains so positive and full of life. He’s been such an inspiration for everyone around him through it all.

“We are very lucky to say his body has stopped destroying his platelets (as quickly) since his last IVIG treatment in March 2020.  We were able to stop medication/infusion treatments at that time, and since then have slowly watched his platelets and symptoms slowly improve, finally coming up to normal numbers over the last couple of months.

“Though we understand the ITP journey is unpredictable, we do pray every day that he reaches remission without any bumps in the road.  In the meantime, JJ has started Kindergarten, joined sports, and is living childhood as he has always wished.  We couldn’t have gone through this journey without the tremendous support from family and friends, everyone at our clinic and those we’ve met through the hospital, generous blood donors and the PDSA.”

Follow JJ’s Journey at facebook.com/fightwithJJ

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.