BOSTON — Arianna Faro is walking a little easier now.
The 28-year-old Wilmington woman has been in pain -- excruciating at times -- for half her life. But a new treatment is giving her some relief.
"At 14, my leg decided to go a little crazy on me," she said. "I never thought I’d see this day -- progressing."
Faro was born with Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome. It's an extremely rare genetic condition that affects the development of blood vessels, soft tissues and bones.
When Faro was 14 her left leg started swelling. It doubled and even nearly tripled in size. She also developed a birthmark on her leg.
"Started getting cellulitis, sepsis, blood clots, swelling, pain, bleeding sores all over," she said.
Faro has undergone more than 50 surgeries and has been in the hospital 135 times.
"There are some very tough moments but then you have to pick yourself back up because it's not changing anything," Arianna's mother Charyl Faro said.
Faro has been treated at Boston Children's Hospital her whole life and will be treated by a team of specialists here for the rest of her life since her condition is so rare.
"We assume this is going to be a treatment they are going to need for a long period of time," Dr. Denise Adams explained.
Faro is among the first patients ever in the United States to undergo a breakthrough treatment to help reduce the swelling in her leg. Dr. Adams and her team are using a cancer drug they hope will shrink Faro's leg and prevent recurring infections.
In the first three months of treatment, Faro says she has already lost 20 pounds in her left leg.
Cox Media Group