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Family plans tournament for GT cure

Julia Smith is one lucky girl.

Years ago, when their infant daughter was diagnosed with Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia, a rare but serious bleeding disorder, Helen and Alan Smith did what most parents would do.

They took action, founding the Glanzmann's Research Foundation and starting an annual charity golf event to raise money for GT research.

This year, the fourth annual Golfing for a Cure tournament will be held at the Belle Meade Country Club on March 26. Mrs. Smith said the tournament is a good place for those affected by the disease to exchange information with one another.

"We have several people with Glanzmann's come from all over the country just so they can have the opportunity to meet somebody with it, and so they can feel a little more proactive with it. Everybody feels like they can make a difference," she said.

As a result of her GT, Julia -- now a five-year-old pre-k student at Augusta Prep -- has to be careful in everything she does.

"It's a platelet disorder. She's missing one of the proteins on her platelets that is needed to form an effective clot," said Mrs. Smith.

Julia's body is often covered in bruises as a result of the disease, which also prevents her from doing many activities common for children her age.

"She's getting more frustrated," said Mrs. Smith. "She wants to ride horses, but she can't. She gets bleeding behind her knees if she plays too much or does excessive walking...but she's doing really well this year. We've been very fortunate"

Special guests at the tournament will include several prominent medical professionals who study GT. Most notably, Dr. David Wilcox from the Medical College of Wisconsin will be in attendance. The Department of Pediatrics there is leading the way to find a cure for the disease. So far, the Glanzmann's Research Foundation has made great strides in funding research. Since the tournament began, the foundation has raised approximately $60,000 to go towards research.

This year the event will feature a lunch provided by Chic-Fil-A, dinner by The Macaroni Grill, as well as live and silent auctions.

"We have great stuff -- a we have golf trips, vacation trips; we have jewelry; we have children's birthday party packages; we have sports memorabilia. It's been an outpouring from community support from Augusta and Thomson. It's a fun, fun time," said Mrs. Smith of the auctions.

There are still openings for teams or individuals to take part in the Golfing for a Cure tournament, as well as sponsorship opportunities. Call Helen Smith at 595-4248 for more information.

Web posted on Thursday, March 11, 2004

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Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01

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