THE Glasshouse in Port Macquarie will light up purple on Tuesday, October 20 to raise awareness of mastocytosis and mast cell diseases - a broad family of diseases that can be life threatening and often severely debilitating.
October 20 is the third annual International Mastocytosis and Mast Cell Diseases Awareness Day.
The #SpotOurSpots campaign and Awareness Day aim to raise awareness of the need for more accurate diagnostics, better treatments, further investments in research as well as build hope for mast cell disease patients all over Australia in dreaming for a brighter, healthier future.
This year, the Australasian Mastocytosis Society (TAMS) has partnered with a over 50 landmarks across the country to light up purple (the international colour for mastocytosis and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome) and are encouraging people to safely take photos of themselves at/near these places and post on social media with the hashtag #SpotOurSpots to help raise awareness.
"Mast cell diseases often leave sufferers having to cope with life changing symptoms," David W. Mayne, TAMS chair, said.
Symptoms range from serious and even fatal (anaphylaxis) to extreme discomfort through constant pain.
"TAMS aims to support and encourage those with mast cell disease and we are thrilled to announce our first national survey as a precursor to vital research pathways.
"These are positive steps for all that suffer from these debilitating diseases."
If you have not heard of mastocytosis or mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), you are not alone.
Mast cell diseases describes a group of disorders that are caused by the presence of too many overactive mast cells in the body.
A mast cell is a type of blood cell made in the bone marrow that is vital in allergic reactions and fighting parasitic infections. Mast cells produce histamine as well as many other chemical mediators that have specific functions.
Histamine is a chemical that can cause itching, sneezing, congestion, swelling, flushing and wheezing. Mast cell diseases can cause tremendous suffering and disability due to symptomatology from daily mast cell mediator release, and/or symptoms arising from infiltration and accumulation of mast cells in major organ systems. Even syncope (fainting) through anaphylaxis can occur.
Although mastocytosis is a rare disease, those suffering with MCAS have recently been increasingly recognised and diagnosed.
TAMS has been created as an advocacy, education and support body for those throughout Australasia who suffer from or care for those with the rare mastocytosis or MCAS.
For more visit www.mastocytosis.org.au.