South Carolina resident Heather Gage focused her senior project on childhood friend Kaitlyn Moseley, who was diagnosed with a primary immunodeficiency disease (PIDD) when she was three years old. Heather and Kaitlyn, who were born a day apart in 1993, spent their early childhood together, attending the same church and the same daycare. Kaitlyn, however, was frequently absent from daycare due to her chronic illnesses. Heather remembers missing her friend and wondering why she got sick so often. Heather grew up and learned about Kaitlyn’s diagnosis. The girls, now seniors in high school, remained good friends.
When Heather had to choose a senior project involving community service, she chose Kaitlyn and PIDD. She interviewed Kaitlyn and her mom, Xan, and researched the diseases for a paper and presentation, to be given to a panel of her teachers. She even organized an auction, held March 17, 2012, raising $600 for the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) through the THINK ZEBRA! campaign.
Xan and Kaitlyn attended Heather’s presentation and spoke about life with PIDD and their involvement with IDF. Xan explained that IDF is a “wonderful” resource for families living with PIDD. The family attended their first IDF Family Retreat in 1998 and has been actively involved in the Foundation ever since. Xan has helped with numerous IDF events, and in 2008 Kaitlyn became a member of the Foundation’s Teen and Young Adult Council, serving as a leader for her peers. The mother and daughter also discussed how people can help patients like Kaitlyn through plasma donation and THINK ZEBRA! fundraisers.
Heather concluded her project by writing an article for a local paper, Great Falls Reporter. She thanked those who supported her auction and explained the importance of PIDD awareness. “Even though this condition may not be as prevalent as others,” explains Heather, “that does not make the disease any less important. Raising awareness is essential in helping further knowledge and research available to help people like Kaitlyn.”