Teen Swims for His Family’s Battle with Hereditary Angioedema

September 25, 2014

Two teens are taking their love of swimming not to the local pool, but to the Boston Harbor. They’re swimming across the span to help one of the boy’s families in battling a deadly disease. Time Warner Cable News reporter Katie Eastman caught up with the boys, and has more.

GUILDERLAND, N.Y.– Luke and Michael are freshmen on the Guilderland High School Swim Team and they’ve been swimming buddies for eight years.

“I tried every other sport and they all failed,” said Michael Ardito.

Don’t let his modesty fool you, the 15-year-old is really good at this sport, and that’s not even the coolest part about him.

“I thought it was a great idea, and it’s totally exploded into something I would have never imagined,” said John Harrington watching his step son and his friend, Luke Tanner swim.

It’s what Michael is doing for two people in his family that makes him the coolest.

“Just seeing what these attacks can do is very terrifying to think that my sister could have those attacks,” said Ardito.

Michael’s sister Kati and his step dad John have a rare disease called Hereditary Angioedema, known as HAE.

“It’s an autoimmune disease that mimics the symptoms of a severe allergy,” said Harrington.

But it’s not the same treatment as an allergy, and there is no cure. Harrington was in a coma for five days once after an attack. Four year old Kati has been lucky. She’s hasn’t been hit with one yet.

And Michael doesn’t want her to, which is where his really good swimming comes in.

“I’ve swam in a lake a couple times,” he says.

But on Saturday Michael and Luke will brave the ocean and race a mile in the Boston Harbor for Kati and John as a part of the Boston Sharkfest Swim. They’ve almost raised $8,000 for their charity that goes toward research for HAE.

If you’d like to help out, you can donate to their page.

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