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Survivor's battle for health

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Summer Krisel was born with a fever, and over the next two years, suffered from a string of sinus and ear infections, sudden high fevers, and boils on her legs, arms and bottom.

"The doctors would tell my mother I was just a sickly baby," said the now 19-year-old college student and former Long Islander, adding that they treated her symptoms but did not know why she kept getting sick.

Then, when Summer was 3, a doctor in upstate New York referred her to a specialist at Manhattan's Mount Sinai Hospital, who tested her and diagnosed a primary immune deficiency disease.

She began a continuing regimen of treatment that controlled her disease, and now Summer, who attends college in North Carolina, says that "if you see me on the street, I'm your typical girl" although she is still prone to infections.

"If I hadn't been diagnosed, I think I probably would have died. I would have ended up with pneumonia and wouldn't have been able to fight it off because my antibodies were shot and not doing the job," she said.

Summer, who first met Fred and Vicki Modell when she was 3, credits them with "putting a face on PI. It's because of them there are newer and greater things that can be done for people with PI and that we're that much closer to finding a cure."

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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