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Raising awareness for common variable immune deficiency, or CVID

It took Lois Crudden 50 years to finally find out she had an immune disorder called CVID, or common variable immune deficiency. (WJAR)

A Warwick woman is raising awareness about an “invisible” disease.

"I was very sick from the time I was born right up until 50," said Lois Crudden, who is now 63 years old. "I was getting one infection after another."

It took Crudden 50 years to finally find out what was going on. She had an immune disorder called CVID, or common variable immune deficiency.

"My body doesn't make antibodies and my cells just attack each other," she said. "Nobody believes that you're even sick. They're like, 'you look fine. What are you talking about, you're sick.”

Since her diagnosis, blood donations have kept her going.

"Without that, I couldn't live," said Crudden.

In particular, she’s referring to immune boosting plasma.

"When you give a whole blood donation with us, part of that are red cells that go to help patients in local hospitals, some of it are platelets and the other part are plasma,” said Kara LeBlanc of the Rhode Island Blood Center. "And the plasma can go to help people who get IVIG treatment."

The treatment, which is known as IVIG, is a purified concentration of plasma that is infused into patients like Crudden every month.

“It can take the blood of 1,000 donors to make a years' worth of therapeutic treatments,” said LeBlanc.

But even with treatment, Crudden said she has to be careful.

"I have to be very careful with any cuts and scratches because a little tiny scratch, paper cut could put me in the hospital,” she said.

Since her diagnosis, Crudden has gotten involved with the Immune Deficiency Foundation. She's taken part in walks for a cure in Boston. Now she wants to bring that support to the Ocean State.

"I know there's people in Rhode Island who have this disease,” she said.

Crudden is organizing a fundraiser to benefit CVID research. It will take place on Sept. 17 at the Warwick Fire Fighters Association Club at 750 Warwick Avenue from 1 p.m. to 4p.m.

For more information, call 401-732-5677 or email Crudden at Rois1914@yahoo.com.

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