2009-05-08 / Community

TV Program Aids Local With Disease

On May 10, ABC-TV's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will feature the Cerda family of Las Vegas, shedding light on their life-threatening illness of combined immune deficiency disease (CIDD), one of the more severe types of the 150 different primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDD).

Approximately a quarter of a million Americans in the U.S. are diagnosed with PIDD, and one Belle Harbor family, the Farrell family, is familiar with the Cerdas' situation. They too battle a primary immune deficiency disease.

Local volunteer Sandy Farrell is hopeful that the episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will help to educate people and raise awareness about primary immunodeficiency diseases and encourage area residents to get involved.

"It's important that primary immunodeficiency diseases have their day in the spotlight. By featuring the Cerda family on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," ABC will have helped the Cerda family as well as thousands of people nationwide," said Farrell.

Farrell, unlike the Cerda family and others with a PIDD, had not suffered any serious illnesses when she was diagnosed 15 years ago with common variable immune deficiency (CVID). However, she is more likely than the general public to get lymphoma or become seriously ill, unless she receives monthly infusions of gammaglobulin. Because of her diagnosis, Farrell has learned all she can about PIDD and has become a volunteer with the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF).

Ms. Farrell plans on watching "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on Sunday, May 10 and hopes that many Rockaway residents will do the same, because one of her major goals in life is to expand awareness of the disease that has stricken her and so many others.

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