My Cystic Fibrosis is omnipresent. I cannot wish it away, cure it with a few pills like a common cold, or pretend it does not exist, but I do not let it define me. I do not trudge around with my disease, carrying it around like a hefty backpack. Rather, I wear it with pride. When people hear “Cystic Fibrosis,” they think death, sickness, and struggles. But I don’t think of it as a handicap or as any kind of prison. I think life, opportunities, perseverance, and the freedom to be myself. The disease that can cut the average human’s life expectancy in half has allowed me to be live my life to the fullest, full of valor, optimism, and curiosity.
A lot has changed in the past year! I started college at the University of California, San Diego this past fall and have absolutely loved it! I was able to run along the beautiful coast everyday, breathe the salty air, and explore La Jolla and downtown San Diego. I turn 19 this April, and still enjoy running, skiing, and surfing. The median age for living with CF is early 40's. Every day I do therapy to stay healthy. My therapy consists of wearing an inflatable vest to help clear mucus from my lungs and using two nebulizers. In one week, I take 170 pills and do seven hours of therapy.
Even though we cannot walk in person for the usual Great Strides Walk in May, my mom, dad, and I will continue to raise money for our team, Angelica's Angels, for the Great Strides Walk benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Great Strides Walk is the CF Foundation's largest fundraiser of the year.
Last year, our team, Angelica's Angels, was recognized as one of the top fundraising teams in North Carolina raising more than $45,000. Our national team goal this year is $40,o00. This year, the 2020 Great Strides Wake County walk goal is $380,000. We have friends and family supporting us in the fight to cure CF in NC, FL, MA, and NY.
I hope you will choose to donate to help me reach my personal goal of $15,000. Last year, I raised $15,000! Your gift is 100% tax deductible -- just click the gold box ("Donate to Angelica")! Alternatively, checks can be made payable to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and mailed to my family before or after the May 16 walk date. I know this year is especially difficult to donate with the pandemic, and I completely understand if you are unable to contribute.
Thank you for helping me ROCK CF! Please continue to keep me and those living with CF in your prayers. This pandemic does not make it easy on the Cystic Fibrosis community, but we will get through this with love, prayers, and perseverance.
2801 Dray Court, Raleigh, NC 27613