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Fund started to help victim of rare disease

A Priceville woman is appealing to the public for help in her fight against acute intermittent porphyria (AIP), a rare hereditary blood disease.

Stephanie Hardiman

Stephanie Hardiman, a 2006 graduate of Priceville High School, has suffered from the disease for three years and is now a candidate for a liver transplant.

A fund was set up in her name at Hartselle’s Redstone Federal Credit Union last week and donations are being accepted at any Redstone office. In addition, two fundraisers have been planned to help offset the high medical and prescription bills that continue to escalate.

A benefit car wash will be held at Priceville High School Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Food will be provided by Southern Style Barbecue and will be available.

In addition, a benefit will be held at Gurley’s Soggy Bottom Music Barn in Somerville on May 12 starting at 3 p.m. There will be live entertainment, food and an auction.

All proceeds and donations from these two benefits will be used to help pay medical bills.

Hardiman was diagnosed with AIP in February 2010 after suffering from its symptoms for nearly a year.

AIP affects the production of heme, which is a component of hemoglobin. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, constipation, pain in the back, arms and legs, muscle weakness, urinary retention, hypertension, confusion, hallucinations and seizures.

Hardiman has received monthly injections of Panhematin to offset the inability of her liver to produce heme. Recently, the treatments seemed to strop working and Hardiman had to be hospitalized in February 2012. Last month, she consulted with her doctors at UAB and was told her body was rejecting the medication. They offered a liver transplant as another option. Testing was done to prepare Stephanie for a transplant when one becomes available.

Hardiman was formerly employed at the Cancer Center in Huntsville as a nursing assistant. She is no longer able to work and doesn’t have health insurance.