Local family praising 'Grey's Anatomy' for featuring rare disease

SEATTLE -- The storyline on Thursday night's episode of "Grey's Anatomy" is very personal for one of the actresses and some local families.

The show will tackle Kawasaki disease, which involves inflammation of the blood vessels and can have deadly complications.

But the disease is easy to misdiagnose, and that's why local families and doctors are happy to see "Grey's Anatomy" give it national attention.

Aiden Englet is a typical 8-year-old boy. He's happy to get wet and dirty looking for the perfect rock. When he got sick last year, his mom thought his illness was pretty typical, too.

He seemed to have a virus, but there were some odd symptoms. He had a rash on his feet, a sore and swollen tongue and a fever that wouldn't come down.

After three doctor visits, Aiden was finally diagnosed with Kawasaki diesease, or KD.

"It becomes a reality when you're watching your 7-year old for signs of heart attacks. They could have a heart attack from an aneurism in their heart," said Aiden's mother, Amy Englet.

Aiden spent 11 days at Seattle Children's Hospital, where timely treatment saved him from heart disease.

On Thursday's "Grey's Anatomy," actress Sarah Chalke plays a mother whose son is ill, but doctors are confused. It's a scenario Chalke actually lived through.

She approached the medical show and asked them to dramatize her story to spread the word about Kawasaki Disease.

"It can only help. We need to get the message out that this is a life threatening, life crippling disease and we need to make the diagnosis as early as possible and then treat it," said Dr. Michael Portman, the foremost researcher on Kawasaki disease.

Aiden is proof that being diagnosed in time is a life saver. Today, he's healthy and has no restrictions.

"He can run and play and gymnastics and jump and all the things that he wasn't able to do," Amy said.

Portman is currently working to develop a simple blood test that would make diagnosis much easier. He's also looking for a cause and a cure.