Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cystic Fibrosis

Scott and Jaime!

Cystic Fibrosis, or CF, is a disease that is caused by a genetic mutation. It causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract. Some of the most common symptoms of CF include: delayed growth, fatigue, chronic congestion, recurrent pneumonia, and difficulty breathing. This terrible disease eventually worsens to the point where the person is disabled. Today, the average lifespan for a person with CF is 35 years.

Growing up, I had never really heard of Cystic Fibrosis. I didn’t know anybody who had it and so it wasn’t something that I thought about often. However, when I began college I met a sweet girl named Jaime. Jaime appeared to be normal, and honestly if she hadn’t told me I don’t think I ever would have known that she suffered from this illness. One night we were out bowling and Jaime told me she had to leave. I asked her if she felt alright and she explained that the bowling alley was too smokey and not a good place to be for someone with CF. When I got home I looked up Cystic Fibrosis and tried to learn all about the causes and effects of this mysterious illness. Meanwhile, back home my parents were beginning to work with our local triathlon club and make friends. Through this they made friends with a man named Scott Johnson. Scott’s amazing story was revealed to us shortly after meeting him. He also suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and had received a double lung transplant, which allows him to continue to run triathlons and even an Iron Man or two! Both Scott and Jaime are AMAZING people who I love dearly. I admire their courage and their strength and often think about them when I am having a bad day or feeling sorry for myself. If you want more of Scott’s story, here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngvkj3IAb-I

Myth: A lung transplant can cure CF
Fact: While a lung transplant can greatly help someone with CF, it is not a cure. A lung transplant may be useful in prolonging life or adding to the quality of life, but not completely curing.

Myth: People with CF look sickly and pale
Fact: Much like any other illness, CF manifests itself in different ways in different people. Most of the time you can not tell that a person has CF just by looking at them!

So there ya go! Some facts about Cystic Fibrosis. I would encourage you to look it up on Youtube or Google. There are some pretty great stories out there!

P.S.- cute story- when children get diagnosed with CF, they are told to call is 65 roses because it is easier to say then Cystic Fibrosis ;)

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