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There are approximately 30,000 people living in the United States with cystic fibrosis. They are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends and co-workers who struggle every day just to breathe. I ride for Ben Morey, my boyfriend of several years, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 27 while awaiting a double lung transplant for cystic fibrosis. Let me tell you some of Ben's and my story...
Ben and I met on Match.com at the end of 2008 while I was in veterinary school and he was finishing pre-requisites to return to graduate school for a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. I thought he was "too nice" and was not interested in meeting him at first; he was getting tired of me "blowing him off". Thankfully we both decided to give each other a chance and had our first date on Valentine's Day of 2009. The next few years we spent together were full of summertime visits to his family’s cottage in the Thousand Islands and boat rides on their Boston Whaler; competitive games of mini golf (I think he LET ME WIN once); sushi, hibachi, and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que; Syracuse basketball; drives to see the cows in the countryside of upstate NY; Rocky movies; a perfect Christmas sleigh ride; celebrations as I graduated veterinary school and he was accepted to physical therapy school, finishing his first year ranked first in his class. As his disease progressed, he was unable to return to school for his second year and was placed on the waitlist for a double lung transplant. With a median survival time of five years, the transplant would not have been a cure, but was his only option for survival with no permanent cure for cystic fibrosis available. I resigned from my veterinary internship in California to return to the East Coast to be with this man that I loved. Ben passed away on October 1, 2011 at New York Presbyterian Hospital in NYC.
CF Cycle for Life is a unique event that empowers cyclists to take action and demonstrate their fight in finding a cure for cystic fibrosis in a tangible, yet emotional way. The date of this year’s ride is special to me because it is the sixth anniversary of Ben’s passing. I remember the first time that I participated in the 65-mile Minnesota CF Cycle for Life in 2014; I was very nervous before the ride started, concerned that I would not be able to finish it. My mom had flown out to be with me for the event and she told me, “Ben struggled more than you will today. You can do it.”
Although tremendous progress has been made in the search for a permanent cure for cystic fibrosis (e.g., several gene therapy drugs have been developed in the last few years), the lives of people with CF are still cut far too short. There still is no cure for this devastating disease. Ninety cents on the dollar raised by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is available to fund research, care and education programs for cystic fibrosis. The CF Foundation funds more cystic fibrosis research than any other organization, and nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of CF Foundation support. As a result of targeted investments, the Foundation has fueled dramatic improvements in research and care that have significantly changed the prognosis for people with CF. The predicted median age of survival for people with CF is 37 years - more than double what it was 25 years ago. Remarkably, people with CF are living into their 40s, 50s and beyond.
By cycling, I am helping add tomorrows to the lives of all people living with cystic fibrosis. Will you join me? Support me by making a donation to my CF Cycle for Life fundraising campaign today! Help me reach my fundraising goal!