Marian Armstrong

I live in central Lancashire with my husband and we have two grown-up daughters. Until recently, I was a full-time teacher of science and careers, and head of year. I took groups of children on adventure holidays that included activities such as sailing, kayaking, climbing and ghyll scrambling, despite my rheumatoid arthritis and repeated respiratory and ear infections. I had always been prone to ear and chest infections from childhood. Eventually, a chance blood test in 2005 revealed that I had common variable immune deficiency (CVID) and I began intravenous immunoglobulin replacement therapy. My health improved with regular treatment, but I had to battle with my employers to prove that I could still do my job as well as any other teacher. Each time I visited the doctors’ surgery I had to explain my CVID to various GPs. I also realised that staff in other hospital departments (I have appointments with rheumatology and ENT) often have no understanding of CVID. As a PID UK patient representative, I am keen to use my ability to talk to groups of people to help get the message across to a wider audience. I also hope to be able to help others with CVID realise that we can do just as much as anyone else, despite our condition, once given the correct treatment.