Sisters Work Together on HAE Disease Awareness and Science Project

Ah, the seventh-grade science fair, I remember it well. Not being an overly imaginative student, I came home and announced I was going to make an exploding volcano for my big contribution. I was certain I would bring the world of science to its knees, or at least I’d finish the assignment with a very big “bang.” Not everyone opts for the path of least resistance when it comes to projects for the science fair.

Such was the decision of a Colorado Springs student who created her science project around hereditary angioedema, or HAE—a rare disease she deals with every day.

HAE is a hereditary genetic defect passed on from parents to children.

The disease is a result of a missing or malfunctioning blood protein that stops inflammation. The disease is very rare. Delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses are common. Symptoms of HAE include the extreme swelling of the face, hands, feet, and airways. Attacks can be spontaneous but can also be triggered by stress, dental procedures, bug bites, infections, and physical activities.

According to Parkbench, it was Nina’s assignment, but her 11-year-old sister Rayna, provided help and input—as she also has HAE.

For the two sisters, the science fair’s tri-fold poster board was an opportunity to open up and educate classmates and others about HAE. Their presentation includes an outline of the disease, other family members who also have the disease, photos, and a notebook that supports their experiences. Both girls are working on their public speaking skills and becoming more comfortable presenting in front of others—including judges.

The girls continue to work on their project based on feedback from their classmates and judges, but the presentation title remains the same, “Sisters Fighting Together.” To read more about the girls’ story, click here.

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