Grieving family hopes to spread awareness about TTP after sudden death of Calgary dad

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WATCH: A Calgary family is mourning the loss of a local father, husband and well-known MMA trainer. He was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and 10 days later, his family is planning his funeral. Sarah Offin reports – Mar 26, 2018

Friends and family of Max Marin are grieving his sudden loss after the MMA fighter, husband and father of four died from a rare blood disorder March 12.

Only 10 days before, Marin, 43, started experiencing headaches, confusion and slurred speech.

“These symptoms came out of nowhere as my brother was a trainer–extremely healthy, no prior illnesses whatsoever,” his sister Andria Stephens said.

Stephens said her brother dedicated his life to personal training and health and wellness, mentoring and training many of the MMA gym owners across Calgary.

He was taken to the Sheldon Chumir Centre where they ran tests for hours and later discharged him. They suggested he may have suffered a stroke.

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“By Friday morning it was apparent that he was feeling really, really bad,” his wife Lindsey Marin said. “So we took him to Foothills and he was starting to deteriorate quickly – like, very quickly.”

After a trip to Foothills hospital, Marin was diagnosed with Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP).

According to the TTP Foundation, the blood disorder affects only three to four people in a million annually. In TTP, blood clots form in small blood vessels throughout the body. Those clots can limit and block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the body’s organs.

Initially Marin responded well to treatment, but then began to rapidly decline. He suffered a heart attack on March 11, then another the next day that took his life.

The family is now asking questions about why Marin’s case wasn’t initially flagged by the health care system when they went to Sheldon Chumir.

“I think they should have recognized it was something worth transferring him to the trauma centre at Foothills,” his wife said.

In a statement, Alberta Health Services said: “While AHS cannot comment on specific cases, we know TTP can be a very difficult condition to diagnose. AHS will review the circumstances around this case and reach out to the family. Albertans with concerns surrounding their care or that of a family member are encouraged to contact AHS Patient Relations for assistance.”

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The family doesn’t know if that would have changed the outcome for Marin, but hope increased awareness will lead to more funding, more research and improved treatment.

They’re planning an annual MMA tournament to raise money in the fight to combat TTP.

“The fact that it took an extremely healthy man in 10 days is shocking and I am hoping to bring greater awareness to this very serious health issue,” Stephens said.

“Often the illnesses that don’t get medical funding or attention for research and further treatment is because there is a lack of public awareness.”

Marin leaves behind a wife and four boys aged 15, 13, nine and seven years old.

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