My CF Climb Story
Years Ago we had a wonderful Ancira Team Member named Ginger Lopez, our Service Drive Manager at Ancira Chrysler Jeep Dodge. She was nothing Short of SPECTACULAR, and as you would assume she was being made promotion offers left and right by our competitors. Fortunately/Unfortunately we have a long tenure at Ancira and unless we build another store, we have little room to promote quickly. So, at the time I investigated what would mean the most to her outside of the biz and come to find out she was raising two boys with Cystic Fibrosis, Brandon & Tyler. WOW WOW WOW, what a heavy weight to live with. Of course we immediately became sponsors of a CFF event and lent them our vehicles for a cycling event they used to have in honor of Ginger's boys. Ever since then I have been a HUGE supporter of CFF and Ginger. Heck, when my buddies over at Cavendar made her a wonderful offer that I could not at the time, I certainly gave her my blessing and well wishes. As luck would have it Rick Cavendar also had an annual event for CFF, so she was in good hands with those guys. Ginger is one remarkable lady with 2 remarkable boys and we are here to give that family and many others as many tomorrow's as we can.
THIS IS GINGER'S STORY:
IN 1995 I became a mother to a beautiful full-term baby boy, Brandon, and it was the most wonderful thing that had happened to me. Like all new parents, I relied on doctors, family, and friends to help me maneuver the path of parenthood. When Brandon was a year old, we started to notice issues; he was eating more than the average baby, he had intestinal issues and he wasn’t gaining the weight he should. Every doctor’s appointment we would bring up the concerns we were having and our pediatrician gave us pointers and advice on how to handle each issue. We didn’t think a lot about it – having and taking care of a baby wasn’t supposed to be easy –right? Two years and 2 months after Brandon was born, we welcomed his brother Tyler into the world. We were ecstatic to be parents of 2 beautiful boys!
During this time, Brandon’s intestinal issues became worse and the doctor suggested he be tested for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). We had no idea what this was, but soon our world would change forever. Brandon was tested and we were told he did have CF, a genetic disease. CF is inherited. A child will be born with CF only if two CF genes are inherited--one from the mother and one from the father. We were devastated by the diagnosis, after all our one job was to protect our children from harm - and yet our genes were making Brandon ill. Because of Brandon’s diagnosis, we were told we would need to test Tyler as well. He was a newborn, not showing any symptoms, but once parents have had a child with CF, they have a one in four, or 25 percent chance, that each additional child will be born with CF. This means that there is a three out of four, or 75 percent chance, that additional children will not have CF. We did not win those odds, and to our dismay Tyler too was diagnosed with CF.
We learned that CF mostly affects the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestine. Our life became about doctor’s appointments, clinic visits, intense daily medications, and treatments. Back in 1997, treatments meant 30 minutes of breathing treatments and 30 minutes of percussions to the back – 3 times a day, for each boy! That meant we were spending 6 hours doing treatments and it didn’t account for all the other things we had to get done during the day, feeding, bathing, playing – just living life with toddlers!
It was important for us as parents to help the boys live as normal of a life as possible and to embrace the challenges of living with CF in the most positive way possible. Living with CF became our new norm. We became involved in the CF community and have been blessed with a phenomenal medical team who helps keep the boys healthy and family and friends that supports us every step of the way. We raised the boys to be “normal”, but the truth is they cannot live a normal life – medications, treatments, and hospital visits are a part of their everyday life. When they were first diagnosed, the median life expectancy was 19 years old. Because of the research and medical advancement made by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the median age today is 40. Due to the tremendous advancements in specialized CF care, my boys’ quality – and length – of life has doubled!
To see them, no one would know they have CF. One of Brandon's nurses while he was hospitalized went to high school with him and never knew he had CF. Today Brandon is 24 and has graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and Tyler is 22, has joined the workforce and is living independently.
We support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation because they are the world’s leader in the search for a cure for CF. They are dedicated to attacking CF from every angle. Their focus is to support the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with CF (like Brandon and Tyler) and - ultimately - to find a cure.
Cystic fibrosis is a rare, life-shortening, genetic disease found in about 30,000 people in the U.S., which causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breath over time. Those living with this disease are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends, and co-workers – all struggling each day just to breathe and live normal, healthy lives.
Sixty years ago, most children with cystic fibrosis did not live long enough to attend elementary school, but thanks to Foundation-based research and care, many people with CF are now living into their forties – achieving milestones once thought not possible, such as attending college, pursuing careers, and having a family of their own.
While there has been significant progress in treating this disease, there is still no cure and too many lives are cut far too short. By participating in CF Climb, I am helping add tomorrows to the lives of all people living with CF today.
Please make a difference and support me by donating to my CF Climb fundraising campaign today!
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