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Bruising, nosebleeds and heavy periods in women – the symptoms of an underdiagnosed inherited disease that affects one in every 1000 Irish people

Co Meath man Donal McCann suffers from bleeding disorder Von Willebrand disease. He shares what life is like with the condition, his relief at not passing it on to his daughter and why he is telling his story to raise awareness 

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Donal McCann with his 18-month-old daughter Darcy. Pic: Mark Condren.

Donal McCann with his 18-month-old daughter Darcy. Pic: Mark Condren.

Little Darcy was tested for VWD, but she does not have the condition

Little Darcy was tested for VWD, but she does not have the condition

IHS CEO Brian O’Mahony

IHS CEO Brian O’Mahony

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Donal McCann with his 18-month-old daughter Darcy. Pic: Mark Condren.

No loving parent wants to see their child suffering in any way — so from the moment their baby is born, its well-being will be of the utmost importance. So imagine how Donal McCann’s parents must have felt, when shortly after his birth in 1991, he began bleeding from his mouth and nose and was taken to the neonatal unit where he spent the first week of his life.

His father has a rare blood disorder called Von Willebrand disease (VWD), so his parents suspected that he may have inherited it. The bleeding continued for some time and it was discovered that the new baby did have this condition which affects the blood’s ability to clot.


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