Pat Barnes (John Patrick Barnes) was the energetic, fun-loving and hard working “great guy” next door. In addition to progressing on his career path, he worked in his yard, bowled with friends and spent any moments he could on the golf course. When he died from a blood platelet autoimmune disease (ITP) at 33 his world of family and friends were shattered. Married, with a 3-month old baby girl, not just his family but his career had been moving ahead with great optimism for the future.
Health is a fragile gift and Pat’s had been challenged by Hodgkin’s disease since he was a senior at Washington State University. His cancer of the lymph system was in remission when he was struck with an autoimmune response called idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) which causes internal bleeding. ITP mistakenly recognizes blood platelets as invaders and systematically works to destroy them. Pat lived just 7 weeks following the first diagnosis.
Pat’s family has chosen to remember him by creating Pat’s Fund (PF), a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing understanding about the ever-increasing number of people impacted by autoimmune disease around the world.
As is often the case, a second member of Pat’s family subsequently has now developed an autoimmune disease. His sister Tracey has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and now lives with the progressive, neurological, results of yet another condition with no cure. The genetic predisposition within families is often not understood nor is the fact that one individual can develop multiple autoimmune diseases; often several. PF members move through the community presenting clear and correct information about the autoimmunity story.
In recent years Pat’s Fund has forged close relationships with both Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) in Seattle and the Greater NW Chapter of National MS Society. One hundred percent of profits from PF development are used to support these two organizations doing advanced research and offering support and hope for millions of people in the United States and world-wide.