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ITP POKE-R CLUB: For Kids with ITP

About the Program

The only thing worse than frequent needle sticks is being a kid subjected to frequent pokes – an unmistakable reality for ITP patients. Now, factor in that you’re a kid in a hem/onc unit or clinic where most patients have cancer. Does that sound frightening, lonely and depressing? It is.

PDSA has heard all too often that clinical support programs for children in hematology/oncology units are primarily designed for children with cancer or other blood disorders and needlephobia is an increasing problem and one too familiar to kids with ITP. That’s why PDSA has developed the ITP POKE~R CLUBSM - to empower kids with ITP to overcome the trials associated with managing their ITP while giving them a program to call their own.

PDSA has partnered with BUZZY® for pain relief (a vibrating ice pack that confuses the body’s nerves thereby dulling or eliminating sharp injection pain) in an effort to ease the anxiety and alleviate fears associated with frequent needle sticks.

Research Shows Poke-R ClubSM a Tremendous Success

In the Poke-R Club’s 4th year, PDSA aimed to determine the efficacy and impact of the program on pediatric patients with ITP, and presented our findings to over 600 rare disease stakeholders at the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) Rare Diseases & Orphan Products Breakthrough Summit 2016.

Not only was PDSA selected to present “ITP Poke-R Club: A Clinical Support Program Bringing Comfort and Support to Kids Coping with Immune Thrombocytopenia” at the Summit, but our research poster was chosen as one of the top three abstracts out of 40 other posters (of which 80% were submitted by hospitals, prestigious research institutions, and pharmaceutical companies), and PDSA was asked to provide a one page-flyer about the Poke-R Club to all conference attendees.

Research Poster Abstract   Poke-R Club Flyer


Here’s how the program works:

POKE-R KitPoker ChipThe child will receive a drawstring pouch, POKE~R chip, scorecard, and BUZZY® device with their first needle stick and will continue to receive additional chips and distraction cards with each “poke”. They will track their chips on the scorecard and once the child has collected 10 chips, they will receive a prize from PDSA. The Program Overview included with each kit will have additional tips and suggestions for medical professionals and parents on easing pain and fears.

PDSA is proud to offer this free program available to kids with ITP in the U.S. and Canada who are members of PDSA.



PDSA would like to thank Emergent BioSolutions
for their support in making this program possible.
Emergent BioSolutions

Contact Us

If you have any questions, would like information about starting the new ITP POKE~R CLUBSM or program sponsorship, please contact:
Jody Shy
PDSA’s Programs & Events Manager
Phone: 1-87-PLATELET (toll-free)
Email: jshy@pdsa.org