A LITTLE boy and his mum are raising awareness of an extremely unusual and rare disease.

Charlie Clarke and his Mum Carrie, from Wrexham, are raising awareness of ITP (Immune Thrombocytopenia) by taking part in the Rare Aware photography project by Mold-based organisation Same but Different.

ITP is a rare condition, affecting about five people per 100,000.

It causes bleeding, severe bruising and small red spots on the skin, known as purpura.

In rare cases it can lead to an intracranial haemorrhage, a potentially fatal bleed into the brain.

The condition affects 5-year-old Charlie’s everyday life in many ways - even simple tasks like getting dressed can leave him bruised or with a petechiae rash on his body.

He can’t take part in any activities that involve physical contact and is not even able to go to soft play in case he bangs into somebody else.

Any activity that might cause him to bang himself, even slight bangs that anyone else would write off as nothing can leave him with severe marks and bumps.

The curious marks and bruises have led to suspicion by people in the past as to how Charlie has acquired the marks. It is yet another aspect of the condition that makes it difficult for families.

Charlie’s mother Carrie explained how the condition has impacted their life.

She said: “Charlie gets treated differently by lots of different people in different ways.

"Some people just stare at him when he has obvious bruises like black eyes etc. Some point and whisper others ask questions but not always in a nice way.

"We don’t mind people being inquisitive but there are nice ways to ask and ways that do not make a five-year-old boy really self conscious.

"It’s important to us that there is more awareness, which is why we wanted to take part in the Rare Aware campaign.

"Knowledge is power. The more people that know about ITP and other rare conditions, the better.

"People need to understand more about what’s out there and that these conditions exist and not just judge people by the way they look or how they live their lives, you don’t know what that person is dealing with.”

Ceridwen Hughes, photographer and founder of the Same but Different, said: “We love that we can help people share their stories and highlight rare diseases as collectively rare diseases are extremely common. "Through the Rare Aware campaign we hope to increase awareness and also let people know that they are not alone.

"In addition to the photography project we are planning some exciting events in the coming twelve months to help people share their stories and experiences with others in similar circumstances.”

The Rare Aware campaign is funded by the Big Lottery Fund Wales.

To find out more about Charlie and other people affected by rare diseases visit the organisation’s website at www.samebutdifferentcic.org.uk or by follow the Facebook page @samebutdifferentcic.