According to the Daily Mail, Clare Fray has alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. But for years she thought her symptoms were just a part of normal life.
She suffered from numerous chest infections and frequent coughs throughout her early career as a dancer but never saw a doctor. After all, her mother always dealt with similar issues. It must be normal, right?
Turns out, her mother has alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, too.
The diagnosis finally came one day while Clare was organizing some of her old dance costumes. She got stung by a wasp on her finger and began to suffer what she thought was an allergic reaction. Her tongue started to swell and a rash developed on her neck. She finally went to see a doctor.
The results? She was NOT allergic to wasps, but she did have a serious underlying condition.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency means that the body produces a faulty gene on chromosome 14. That gene is responsible for protecting the lungs. The severity of the disease varies, and luckily Clare thinks her career as a dancer helped keep her lungs in shape, despite the deficiency she didn’t even know she had.
Now, with a new knowledge of her condition, Clare continues to try to keep her body healthy. While there is currently no cure for the disease, there are ways to limit the damage and slow down its progression. Throughout it all, Clare has remained positive and extremely determined.
Her diagnosis gave her answers, and now she’s fighting to raise awareness for this rare and debilitating disease.
Read more about Clare’s story here!