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“Advocating for myself and others”

Natalie Philbert, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
– “Advocating for myself and others”
Natalie Philbert

Natalie Philbert

I was officially diagnosed with VWD at 18 years of age despite the severe nosebleeds I had as a child and the frequent bruising. My diagnosis came after I experienced several hemorrhaging incidents following day surgeries. I was hospitalized for approximately a week trying to get the bleeding under control.


Following my diagnosis, I received very little education or follow up. I do not remember placing any real emphasis on the fact that I had VWD as I did not feel it was very significant. Throughout my life, I have had many instances where I would mention to a doctor that I had VWD prior to a surgery or a procedure and the response I would receive was “it’s not a problem”. I experienced heavy menstrual bleeding that interfered with my daily activities, regular bruising that was always embarrassing and caused others to question where the bruises came from and I was always the last person to leave following any type of a medical procedure which quite often required a follow up due to the extended bleeding. I have experienced questioning from medical practitioners about the presence of my bleeding disorder in a woman and others were not exactly sure about VWD. I have always felt a little awkward discussing my bleeding disorder as it is diagnosed as mild, so I have felt it is not worth attention given how severe other people’s experiences have been.


It was only after I requested a consult with a hematologist that I was referred to a Bleeding Disorder Clinic. Around that time I had also started working with Hemophilia Ontario and began to learn more about my bleeding disorder and bleeding disorders in general. Since then I have become a passionate advocate for myself and others to educate, support and inform the people of the bleeding disorder community.