e-Newsletter - December 2016
Advancing the Prevention, Early Diagnosis, and
Treatment of Life-Threatening Blood Clots
Looking Ahead to A New Year Together

Melanie Polk, a business owner, wife, and mother of two teenage girls, was working out of town when a blood clot, as she says, "rocked her world." Shortly after running a marathon this past spring, her doctor suggested she take birth control pills to address some of the troublesome menopause symptoms she was experiencing. Several weeks later, and while on the road for business, Melanie experienced pain in her calf and breathlessness, which led to a diagnosis of a blood clot in her leg and in her lung. She was hospitalized far from her family and friends for two days, while doctors worked to treat her blood clots. 

"I t's been...weeks since my diagnosis, and I feel like it's three steps forward, three steps back," Melanie explains. "I am emotionally fragile. I am hypersensitive to any leg pain. When I fly, I am fidgeting. I worry that because I am still breathless sometimes, I am not improving. I go weeks feeling almost normal, and then I am hit by fatigue and breathlessness. Reading other patient stories is comforting as I wade through recovery. I am grateful to be alive." ( You can read all of Melanie's story here.)
We are grateful that Melanie shared her story with us, and we're grateful for all of the other inspiring stories that have been shared with us this past year, as they underscore the importance of the work we do at the National Blood Clot Alliance, and the important connections we have with so many individuals throughout the country. The sense of community that is formed through these stories and all the people who engage with us throughout the year, gives even greater meaning to the work we do to support our mission to advance the prevention, early diagnosis, and successful treatment of life-threatening blood clots. 

In 2016, NBCA expanded several of our most valuable programs and services to reach even more patients who are seeking information and support. We unveiled a new component of our signature  Stop the Clot, Spread the Word  awareness campaign, as part of our five-year cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to help raise awareness about hospitalization as a major risk factor for blood clots. We also grew our partnership with the  The Rowan Foundation and expanded our work with our Women & Blood Clots program by delivering crucial information about estrogen-based birth control and blood clot risks directly into the hands of the young women who need it most -- young women on more than 60 college and university campuses across the country -- in the form of a new resource suite, including a risk assessment tool. We also expanded our Stop the Clot® Online Support Community this year, with nearly 1,200 online members now.

As we look ahead to 2017, we are committed to expanding these same programs further, and sharing several new resources we are currently developing, including an important new resource focused on the spectrum of issues that surround recovery following a blood clot. Also, keep an eye on this space, as we're planning some important changes to our newsletter format in the upcoming year. 

As we head into the new year together, we at NBCA -- our Board of Directors, our Medical and Scientific Advisory Board members, and our staff -- remain committed to providing you with essential tools and resources, as well as news, updates, and information to support you and keep you informed about blood clots, clotting conditions, treatments and prevention. We value our connections to the community, and we wish you and your family a very healthy and happy holiday season and an exciting new year. 

By Olivia Lapinski, University of Pittsburgh Intern and Special Contributor to NBCA's Women & Blood Clots Program and the NBCA e-Newsletter.

As you gather with friends and family this holiday season, take time to connect with one another about your risk for blood clots, how to recognize signs and symptoms of blood clots, and how to prevent blood clots. 

One of the most important risk factors to know is whether or not you have a family history of blood clots, or an inherited clotting condition. Ask your family members about their blood clotting history. Also, be sure to let them know if you have experienced a blood clot. Besides knowing your risk factors for blood clots, being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of blood clots can also save your life or the life of someone you know. 

There are some simple steps you can take to prevent blood clots too. If you're traveling for long distances this holiday season to visit friends and family, make sure you stop frequently to get out of the car and walk around, or stretch your arms and legs. If you're traveling by plane, be sure to stay hydrated, move your arms and legs frequently, and avoid caffeine. You can find more tips for safe holiday travel in NBCA's "Passport to Safety." 

Invite your family out for a brisk walk around the neighborhood after your holiday meal this year, so everyone can benefit from not only an active and healthy lifestyle, but can help prevent blood clots. Visit here to learn more about how to prevent blood clots .

We are in the midst of the holiday season, celebrated by people in rich and diverse ways that reflect the many strands making up the national fabric of the United States.  Regardless of how you honor this special time, all of us at the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) wish you a joyous holiday season and a healthy and happy 2017. 
As NBCA closes out its thirteenth year of operation, I want to express special thanks to our founding members who first recognized the need for an organization focused on helping the public, patients, families and caregivers know more about blood clots, their diagnosis, prevention and treatment.  Of course, their original efforts would not have been sustained without the hard work of many more volunteers across the United States since those early days in 2003. They have given time, treasure and often both to keep our vision and mission alive. We owe them a continuing debt of gratitude.  We have also been blessed with talented volunteer leadership--our Board of Directors, Officers and committee members.  NBCA has been fortunate to have the finest physicians, scientists, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals contribute their time and talent to our Medical and Scientific Advisory Board (MASAB).  They keep our message true to the science of thrombosis and hemostasis.  Thank you to all who give so generously of their time and talent.

As CEO I want to extend my special thanks to the NBCA staff who are tireless in their efforts to advance our work to "Stop the Clot®." A more talented and dedicated group cannot be found, and I am honored every day to be able to work with them.
Community Connection

A Season of Giving: How You Can Help NBCA
The holiday season signals a time of giving, and we appreciate your consideration and support now and throughout the year. We extend our warmest wishes for a happy holiday season to all of our supporters. 

If you would like to make NBCA part of your end-of-year giving plans and support our mission, there are  three optional ways you can do so: 
  • Donate Now -- Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to NBCA before December 31 to help us continue raising public awareness about the risks, signs, and symptoms of blood clots. Your gift, no matter how small, could help to save many lives. Together, we can make a difference. 
  • Shop to Stop the Clot -- If you're shopping with Amazon.com this holiday season, you also can support NBCA in one easy step by selecting us as your favorite charity organizationWhen you shop using Amazon Smile, a portion of every purchase you make will be donated to NBCA. If you're looking for the perfect gift for someone special, Amazon has a Holiday Gift Guide with thousands of the most popular products to help you with your search. Check off your holiday gift list this year while raising money for NBCA and #StartWithaSmile by holiday shopping at smile.amazon.com
  • Start Your New Year with Us -- At this time of year, we begin thinking about the months ahead, and the positive changes we can make in the new year. Are you considering giving up that morning cup of coffee, or that pack of cigarettes? Do you want to improve your physical fitness or train for a 5k or even a marathon? No matter what your New Year's resolution might be, please consider making NBCA a part of it, particularly if you have a goal to get healthy or active. If you want to stay on track with your 2017 goals, while helping NBCA raise awareness about life-threatenig blood clots, please contact Caitlin Augustine at  caugustine@stoptheclot.org to learn more about fundraising and partnership opportunities  for the new year.

California , Here we Come!
NBCA i s excited to announce that we will be visiting California soon. Please join us on March 26, 2017, for the Los Angeles 5k Run/Walk at the beautiful Orange County Mile Square Regional Park. Registration information will be available in early 2017. During our time in Los Angeles, NBCA is looking to connect with potential volunteers and event organizers. If you live in California and are interested in meeting with NBCA to learn more about our organization and how you can help us with our fundraising goals, please contact Caitlin Augustine at  caugustine@stoptheclot.org .  
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