Sunday, May 22, 2011
My 17 year old niece, Kaitlyn, suffers from a primary immunodeficiency disease known as Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID). She takes weekly IV treaments of a plasma donated product, which is necessary for her survival. There is currently no cure for CVID. She is one of only 12 people in the state of South Carolina with this disease, and one of 250,000 nationwide. Kaitlyn was the first patient in the state to start the newest form of therapy, Sub-Q, which she can now administer to herself at home.
Kaitlyn serves on the National Immune Deficiency Foundation Teen Council and speaks to other patients and industry people about her disease and how it affects her life.
For the past few years, it has been my honor to participate in the national IDF conventions by creating and donating several necklaces which are auctioned to the higest bidder. This year's convention is June 23 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The mascot/logo for the foundation is a zebra in in a color scheme of black and bright green. In medical school, doctors are taught that "when you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras." But sometime, physicians need to look for a zebra. Primary immunodeficiency patients are the zebras of the medical world. So IDF's slogan is "Think Zebra!"
You can help by donating blood when your local bloodmobile comes around, or visit your local blood bank. It truly is the gift of life, as everyone in my family knows. It takes 45 pints of blood to make 1 pint of plasma.
To learn more about primary immunodeficiency disease, please visit www.primaryimmune.org.