Reported by Fox 2, Anthony Anzell doesn’t let his rare genetic disease hold him back. Anthony is an extreme athlete who just swam 19 miles, the entire length of Torch Lake in Michigan, to raise awareness for hereditary hemmorhagic telangiectasia, or HHT. To put that into perspective, it took him 15 hours to complete.
HHT is a rare disease that affects the flow of blood in one’s blood vessels. To read more about it, click here.
Anthony was diagnosed at a young age and went through many intense surgeries, including multiple brain surgeries, one liver surgery and one lung surgery before they even could correctly identify the cause. HHT often goes undetected because of the lack of awareness to the rare disease. Studies show that about 90% of all individuals with HHT do not know they have HHT and are not treated properly. Most of time nothing is done until it becomes an extreme life or death situation. From this, Anthony has set out to make a difference and hopefully save others from undergoing such stressful surgeries and experiences he faced head on.
Anthony has successfully created a buzz in town around his awareness efforts and swimming Torch Lake was only one of his heroic ventures. He also ran a 50-mile race through the heart of Hell, Michigan. It’s so incredible to see this athlete with HHT take on such physically demanding activities because the disease is known to be debilitating, but Anthony shows that with true grit and determination, nothing can slow you down.
While he’s completed two crazy challenges already and brought tons of local and even national awareness, he doesn’t plan to stop there. He is unsure what his next venture will be, but he mentioned the possibility of canoeing 120 miles. Get it, Anthony!
Anthony, alongside his best friend, will continue to fight this disease and provide awareness as best as they can. They started a campaign called “Two Crazy Guys Swim for HHT” and have already surpassed their goal of $8,000. Yet, just like they’ve shown, they aren’t stopping there.
If you’d like to contribute to their mission and donate, click here.