There are approximately 30,000 Americans living with cystic fibrosis. They are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, friends and co-workers who struggle every day just to breathe. I walk for the hope that research continues to better the lives of CF patients like me.
Real progress has been made in the search for a cure, but the lives of people with CF are still cut far too short. There still is no cure for this devastating disease. Help me reach my fundraising goal by donating to my Great Strides fundraising campaign. Your gift will help add tomorrows to the lives of people with cystic fibrosis by supporting life-saving research and medical progress.
Let me tell you a little about my story. I was born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) on November 25, 1988. When I was a baby, I was very sick. I was always coughing. I had thick mucus built up in my lungs, and I always caught the cold or germ that was going around. Not many medications were available at the time to treat this disease. There was finally a huge breakthough in 1994, when the FDA approved a drug called Pulmozyme, which is a medication that thins out the thick, sticky mucus in my lungs. Another big breakthrough happened when the FDA approved TOBI, the first aerosolized antibiotic for CF patients. This medication was very good at clearing the infections from my lungs and keeping me relatively healthy as a child. They continue to come out with new medications over the years to help deal with the problems associated with Cystic Fibrosis. As the research continues, CF patient lives are being extended.
As a child I was very secretive about my CF. I didn't want anyone to know that I wasn't "normal". I tried as best as I could to hide my CF. One of the scariest moments in my life was when I came down with pneumonia in the second grade. I remember going to the hospital and sitting in the waiting room not knowning what was going to happen. I knew I was sick, but I had been sick before. All I needed was some more medication and I thought I was all good to go. It turns out that I was really sick. My lung infection got so bad that they diagnosed me with pneumonia. I didn't understand at the time how bad it was. I didn't know that pneumonia was very serious for even the healthy people. Tears began to pour down my face when they told me I had to stay at the hospital and that I couldn't go home. The hospital smelled funny. The sterile smell of everything surrounding me filled my nose. I remember hating the walls. They were not like my pretty pink ones at home. They were very white with black cords strung across them, very uninviting to a child's eyes. When the doctors and nurses came in I immediately began to cry. They came in to place the IV line in my arm. I began to cry even more. I have always had a huge phobia of needles. I was very confused why the needle remained in my arm. Usually the doctors poked you with it and then it came out. I was completely overwhelmed by this experience.
With this horrifying experience, came great love. My family members came to visit me. I received so much love and support. Something I will never forget... my first grade teacher (from the previous school year) came to visit me in the hospital. I had no idea teachers did that for their students and I was so happy to see her and get a hug from her. If I ever have a student in the hospital, I hope I can replicate the joy my teacher gave me for my student. Each and everyday I appreciate all the love and support I receive from my family and friends. Although each and every person who supports me is incredibly important to me, I would not be as strong as I am without my parents. I love them both so much and can never thank them enough for always being there for me through all my battles with CF on top of the battles of life itself. They have always loved me unconditionally and have pushed me to the be the best that I can physically, mentally and emotionally.
With all of your support hopefully someday soon there will be even greater advancements in the fight against cystic fibrosis. I have been striving to get into exercising more in order to keep my lungs healthy as best as I can. As most of you know I am a teacher, and it isn't always easy to stay healthy working in a pool of germs and sickness everyday. I have hope that someday these huge obstacles will be behind me. Please come walk with me to support CF patients everywhere.
Our team walk will be on May 14, 2016 in Huntington Beach. We will have team shirts available for purchase for anyone who is interested. We will be using the same shirts as last year for those of you who are veteran CF walkers. I am so excited to participate in this event with all my friends and family. It means so much to me to have all your love and support!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor events sponsored by the CF Foundation are strictly prohibited at this time. Scheduled outdoor events must adhere to strict requirements to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection. Events may be subject to change at any time based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON ATTENDANCE AT OUTDOOR FOUNDATION EVENTS:
To minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection, attendees at CF Foundation events must adhere to the following requirements:
Practice physical distancing and maintain at least a safe 6-foot distance from persons outside of their household at all times
Face masks strongly encouraged and expected to be worn in accordance with local guidelines. (Note, children under two years of age should not wear masks due to safety concerns and therefore should not attend CF Foundation events where there is risk of interacting with someone outside of their household.)
Follow basic infection, prevention and control practices by regularly washing hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand gel, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your inner elbow.
Persons with CF should consult their physician before participation in any in-person event as they may be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. People with CF should maintain a safe 6-foot distance from persons outside of their household at all times.