What did you do first thing this morning?
Think about it. I'll wait.
I'm going to bet that one of the first thing you did was to take a deep breath. Nice and long. Get a good blast of O2, feeling life start to flow once more.
Felt good, right?
Now imagine waking up wheezing and coughing as you begin the two or three hours of breathing treatments. Pills on top of pills. Just to be able to get through your morning. Then doing the same in the afternoon. Then again before you turn in for the night. Imagine that a good day is having 65% of your normal lung function. Imagine being underweight for your age. Imagine that your skin is salty not just after a hard workout but all of the time. Imagine having a port implanted to receive continual IV medication and a feeding tube placed just to make sure you do not suffer from malnutrition.
That, and so much more, is the lot of those who fight Cystic Fibrosis.
Why am I telling you this?
On Sunday, May 21st, I will be participating in the Great Strides Walk benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. CF is a cruel disease that attacks the lungs and digestive system. Thick mucus builds up in the lungs, clogging airways and trapping harmful bacteria. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is impeded, to the point of respiratory failure. Mucus also builds up in the small intestine and pancreas, so that nutrients cannot be fully absorbed. So, despite having a proper appetite, those with CF do not gain or maintain weight easily. The mucus in the lungs leads to chronic respiratory disease, weakening the lungs to the point that they simply will not function anymore.
Why am I walking?
I walk for two people, neither of whom I have ever met in person, but hold places in my heart.
The first is Abigail Dunning. I never knew Abigail but her sister, Shanna, is a friend of mine. Abigail was a bright light: camp counselor, youth group leader in her church, and educator of autistic and special needs children. She passed in 2014 but the spirit of #TeamWebbygail lives on.
The second is Cheriz Kunkel. Cheriz wears many hats: wife, realtor, advocate, and fundraiser. Oh, and soon to be foster parent! All while completing her daily treatment protocols and taking part in a research study to help find a cure. On top of all of that, she somehow finds time to write about it. You can follow along at cheriz.org.
I walk for Abigail. For Cheriz. For their friends and their families.
I walk in the hope that soon Cystic Fibrosis will be a thing of the past.
If you feel so inclined, I have set up a fundraising page.
To donate, CLICK HERE