Great Strides, Great Stories

Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest national fundraiser. Every year, families, donors and friends take steps to help support the search for a cure. In this section, we’ll feature a special person or team who played an integral role in the Great Strides walks. We hope you’ll find this story to be inspiring as we continue to make Great Strides in our efforts to find a cure for CF!

Click here to meet others featured in the Great Strides, Great Stories series. 

The Power of Sharing My Story

Meet Lea Faraone, 2017 Great Strides Ambassador

I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of 3. I grew up just like any other child. However, I didn’t tell people growing up that I had CF. My family knew, as well as a few close friends and teachers. But it wasn’t something I shared openly because I felt that it was my battle to face. I didn’t want to burden others with my disease and I honestly just wanted to be treated normally.


Of course, life with CF is not always “normal.” After a major health setback in 2014 when I was 24 years old, my lung function dropped as low as the 20 percent range. I was having constant lung bleeds and I was out of breath just sitting still. There was no guarantee that I would regain my lung function and I had to adjust, thinking that this may be my new normal- I fought for every breath.

It was an incredibly difficult time in my life but I learned so much. I reminded myself that you have to move forward and fight if you want to live the best possible life. Thankfully, I was able to regain lung function, my lung bleeds were corrected, and I hit my new current baseline. But I began to realize that I had to find a way to accept once again that I had CF and be comfortable with that. This meant being open and talking about it. I’m so glad I did because it led me to Great Strides.

 In 2014, I shared my story in order to fundraise for Baltimore Great Strides for the first time. I discussed what it was like to live with CF each day, the challenges I faced, and my hope that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation would one day find a cure for this disease. I shared a link to my Great Strides page on Facebook and in just two days, I raised $5,000.

The truth is, it can be daunting to expose your life and share something so personal with others. But for me, it has made all the difference in the world. In fact, discussing CF with others is ultimately how I met my best friend, Tiffany, who also has this disease. Together, we started Salty Cysters to help raise awareness and help more people fighting CF. As a result of sharing my story, I have raised more than $30,000 for Great Strides in two years, which has helped the Foundation advance clinical trials in its quest for a cure. 

Telling my story has also led me to become a 2017 Great Strides ambassador. Today, I’m proud to talk about CF because I want other people with this condition to know they are not alone. Though we all have different experiences, we can be there for each other. I truly believe we are going to find a cure for CF – it may not be in my lifetime but I hope that by having honest conversations, others in the community will want to get involved with Great Strides and will help in our mission to find a cure. 

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Great Strides, Great Stories


Meet Lea Faraone, 
2017 Great Strides Ambassador

Click below and learn how Lea started to share her story to fundraise for Great Strides (and how she got to be the 2017 Great Strides ambassador!). 

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