Meet Hannah Donoghue
Hello my name is Hannah Donoghue and I am eighteen years old. On February 21, 2001 when I was six months old, my mom received a call from my doctor announcing my diagnosis with the terminal disease, cystic fibrosis. Nothing any parent would want to hear, but my mom said she was relieved to have some type of reasoning as to why I had been really sick, losing weight and suffering from a collapsed lung. From there, we took on cystic fibrosis (CF) head on. I say we because my family was in, and is still in this battle with me.
Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.
In people with CF, mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene cause the CFTR protein to become dysfunctional. When the protein is not working correctly, it’s unable to help move chloride -- a component of salt -- to the cell surface. Without the chloride to attract water to the cell surface, the mucus in various organs becomes thick and sticky.
In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps germs, like bacteria, leading to infections, inflammation, respiratory failure, and other complications. For this reason, minimizing contact with germs is a top concern for people with CF.
Since my first hospital stay in March 2001, I have been hospitalized over 50 times totaling about 90 weeks. 16 of those stays have specifically been for sinus surgeries. Currently, I’m taking over 25 prescriptions to manage everything from anxiety & depression to my CF related diabetes. When I eat, I have to take enzymes to help break down the food since my pancreas doesn’t really work. That’s over 30 enzymes a day!!! I’ll spend an hour and a half each day doing respiratory therapy which includes 3-4 inhaled medications. The 4th is an inhaled antibiotic that I take every other month to help keep down the infection of pseudomonas in my lungs (Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the key bacterial agent of cystic fibrosis (CF) lung infections, and the most important pathogen in progressive and severe CF lung disease. ... The severity of lung disease in CF patients is considered a major determinant of quality of life and survival time).
My passion is photography and I did attend the Art Academy of Cincinnati for a semester but because of my health I was unable to handle the stress of school. I am still taking pictures especially of my four dogs, six cats and one guinea pig. Ask my mom how she feels about that . I love to read and really enjoy taking a nice long drive. I played softball from the time I was three until I was sixteen. I loved playing and I was really good but I had to rest a lot. As I am getting older, my health is deteriorating and it is more difficult to do the things I used to do. I’m going to keep fighting to the very end. They say at eighteen I’ve lived about half my life according to statistics. It’s not really something I dwell on. I get up every day and live life to its fullest. That’s what we should all do.
My family has been raising money and walking in the Great Strides Walk to cure cystic fibrosis since 2001 and have raised over $160,000. The walk this year is May 18, 2019 at Sawyer Point in Cincinnati. Registration begins at 9am and the walk starts at 10am. To learn more, register to walk or donate follow this link: http://fightcf.cff.org/goto/hannahsbananas or you can talk to my mom, Renee.