5-month-old 'Mikey' leads state's first Walk for PI

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There was no mistaking Lois Crudden in her zebra stripped pants Sunday morning.

Zebra stripes are the scheme for the Immune Deficiency Foundation, or IDF, for which Crudden is a devoted volunteer.

Crudden is the force behind the state’s first IDF walk for Primary Immunodeficiency, which was held at Warwick City Park. A victim of Common Variable Immune Deficiency, or CVID, Crudden seeks to heighten awareness and raise funds to fight Primary Immunodeficiency. More than 55 turned out for the walk, a good showing in Crudden’s mind and a strong base upon which to build.

There was a large contingent – family members and friends – in support of the youngest at the walk, 5-month old Mike “Mikey” Mollis. Mikey, smiling in the arms of his mother, Jeanette, and later from behind the protective clear plastic bubble of his stroller, was surely the poster boy of the mile-long jaunt. As cheerful and vigorous as he appears, Mikey has severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID, and for that reason is carefully guarded from being exposed to strangers and even people outside of the immediate family.

“I can’t wait for the day I can hold him,” said his grandfather Ralph Mollis, former Rhode Island secretary of state and current town manager for North Kingstown.

The path for that day will start this week when Mikey undergoes chemo treatment in preparation for a bone marrow transplant in Boston. The procedure will be followed by weeks of hospitalization, at which time family members will be staying with him.

Crudden’s diagnoses at age 50 with CVID came at a critical time. She was told that had treatment been delayed, she would have lost her life.

Now 65, Crudden advocates for PI education and research. She has volunteered with IDF for the past five years and jumped into the role of organizing the Rhode Island walk.

“We need resources to fund a cure,” she said as people waited for the walk to start. They were given the opportunity to help with the purchase of raffle tickets and outright donations.

Crudden didn’t join the walkers or Mikey and the extended Mollis family. She lingered for the group’s return and to plan on building upon the successful event.

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