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Walk raises awareness about little known immune deficiency diseases that you could have without knowing it

PI affects a quarter of a million people in the U.S.
PI affects a quarter of a million people in the U.S.(WOIO (custom credit) | WOIO)
Updated: Sep. 23, 2018 at 1:37 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Primary Immunodeficiency or PI affects a quarter of a million people in the U.S. - some of those who live with the immune system disease live right here in Northeast Ohio, but many live with one of the diseases without even knowing about it.

That's why Addie Smith, her mom Marissa and two other sisters from Hudson led this year's Walk for Primary Immunodeficiency at Wade Oval Park.

"When the flu season comes around, I get really scared like am I gonna get sick, and it is nerve racking," said 10-year-old Addie.

Addie was diagnosed with an immune system disease when she was just 18-months-old.

"Basically, for her, she gets sick, and it interferes with school. As a result, she has to do infusions every week," said Addie's mom, Marissa Smith.

With treatment, Addie is leading a pretty normal life - but she has to be careful.

Her 6-year-old sister, McKenzie is now showing similar symptoms.

"They are not really exactly sure what part of her immune system isn't working," said Smith.

John Boyle is not only the President and CEO of the Immune Deficiency Foundation, he also has an immune deficiency disease. He's hoping that people who are chronically sick talk to their doctors and get tested for PI.

"You could be going years or decades of suffering unnecessarily."

Boyle is also hoping that people will decide to get a flu shot because you are not only protecting yourself from getting the flu, but also helping to protect someone who may have an immune deficiency disease.

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