As I start writing this article, I genuinely have no idea what Histiocytosis is.
It came to my attention through the notice for Olivia Courtenay Spencer
, the friends and family of whom raised over £1,000 for Histio UK
, a charity I was not at all familiar with.
So I thought we could learn together as I write this, as it was clearly an important cause to Olivia and her family, and I want to know more about it.
Histiocytosis isn’t just one disease, instead it’s an umbrella term applied to a group of rare diseases. These diseases are all characterised by an increased number of white blood cells called histiocytes. In each form of histiocytosis, these cells begin to attack various parts of the body, including bone marrow, lungs, skin, brain, and more.
The most common form of Histiocytosis is called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), and it occurs when the body accumulates too many immature Langerhans cells These cells normally help the body fight infections, but in these cases the cells can build up and cause cancer-like tumours.
There are many other forms of Histiocytosis, with varied symptoms, and you can read about many of these on the Histio UK
Histio UK formed in 2014 after a merger between Histiocytosis UK and the Histiocytosis Research Trust, and they have now developed into a successful research & information support network.
Reading though the About Us
section on their website, I can see that they are doing lots to increase awareness, while also funding research and increasing medical knowledge, but there also seems like there is so much work still to do.
The one line that jumped out to me the most was this:
No one should die of Histiocytosis.
Generous donations, from collections such as the one done in memory of Olivia, are vital to make this statement a reality.
If you want to learn about some other great charities that we have hosted collections for, then click here