Photo by Craig Kleimeyer.
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Homewood Middle School seventh grader,Austin Farley, was diagnosed with CommonVariable Immunodeficiency at age six, but hestill plays football and basketball.
Homewood Middle School seventh grader Austin Farley missed more than 40 days of school last year due to a life-long disease.
At age six,Austin was diagnosed with Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID), which weakens him and causes him to have no way to fight infections on his own.
Although Austin constantly gets infections and has to be hospitalized, he still maintains a positive attitude.
“I am usually tired and worn down,” he said. “I feel like I’m lucky to not be full blown cystic fibrosis though. It could be a lot worse.”
“I like sports and I would like to continue,” he said. “I like practicing and playing basketball the most. It’s not the same as football.”
Austin has played football and basketball for years, and he enjoys playing video games and spending time with friends.
When he was six, doctors first found out that Austin, who had been struggling with asthma, had a borderline variant of cystic fibrosis. It was not until 40 or so tests later that his cystic fibrosis doctor at Children’s Hospital decided to check his
immune system and then diagnosed him with CVID.
“He got pneumonia up to five times a school year, and they couldn’t figure out
what was causing it,” Austin’s mom, Kim, said. “The doctor checked his immune system and found out that he had none.”
Austin takes prophylactic antibiotics all year long and does weekly infusions to put IGGs (blood plasma) back into his system.
“I’m really sick and weak after my infusions,” Austin said. “The needles, I’m used to that.”
Kim said her son has to be extremely careful when he is at school.
“If someone at school is just a little sick, he will have something full-blown by
the end of the week,” she said. “If he’s sick, it’s serious.”
His disease is hard on his friendships and team relationships, Austin said. It is
sometimes hard for others to understand what he goes through.
“The hardest thing is trying to go somewhere and always having to stop to get water and take a break,” he said. “It’s hard being with friends and having to stop.”
Kim wants her son to be able to do what he wants to, she said.
“He lives his life as he wants to. He knows his limitations, and he’s learned what his body can’t do. You don’t want to say, ‘Sorry, you can’t do it.’”
Kim works as a Medical Laboratory Tech at the Henderson and Walton Women’s Center. When Austin was 9, she decided to go back to school after working in the education system.
“It helps being a medical technologist,” she said. “I have to become an advocate for the kids.”
Kim had a bake sale in her office in the spring, where she raised more than $300 for the IDF (Immune Deficiency Foundation). The inspiring mom is already beginning to plan a back to school party fundraiser, and her son is excited about it as well.
“We want it to be just like a party,” Austin said. Kim said there will be a deejay, drinks and food, and people can bring a donation for the IDF.
“We want to raise awareness of this disease that’s not common,” she said.
Austin’s pulmonologist said his lungs sound the best they have since he was little, which is encouraging.
He has trouble sleeping and his joints constantly ache, but he has learned from his disease and inspires others with his positive perspective.
“What I’ve learned most is to take advantage of what you have and don’t feel sorry for yourself,” he said. “There are people out there who have it a lot worse than me.”
“He doesn’t give up,” Kim said. “He fights hard.”
To make a donation to help fight Immune Deficiency, contact Kim Farley via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send money to the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) with Austin Farley as the memo. The IDF address is Immune Deficiency Foundation, 40 W. Chesapeake Avenue, Suite 308, Towson, MD 21204.