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Community Stories

Ian Pettigrew
Age 45, Hamilton, Ontario

Award-winning photographer and graphic designer Ian Pettigrew knew something wasn’t quite right when he was unable to have children. He was 38 years old when he discovered the real culprit behind his health issues – cystic fibrosis.

“Luckily my diagnosis is considered a milder variant of the disease, but it is cystic fibrosis nonetheless,” says Ian. “Before that I had no idea, but looking back on my life I always had the symptoms, just no one ever knew it was cystic fibrosis.”

Ian is not alone. Today, nearly 60 percent of all Canadians with cystic fibrosis are adults. To help raise awareness about his disease, Ian drew upon his artistic talents and started the project: Just Breathe: Portraits of Adults Living with Cystic Fibrosis, to shine the spotlight on adults living with cystic fibrosis.

“Because of medical advances, overall life expectancy has greatly increased for CF patients,” says Ian. “But it is still very much an uphill battle; this is not just a child’s disease. What I want my portrait project to touch upon are the profound psychological aspects of cystic fibrosis in adults ? especially those who are diagnosed later in life. It’s sometimes, mentally, very challenging.”

By putting a new face on cystic fibrosis through his portraits, Ian’s goal is to bring attention to some of the additional issues adults with cystic fibrosis deal with apart from the main physiological symptoms – depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and more.

Ian believes that research through donations is making a positive difference for Canadians with this life-shortening disease and that hope lies in knowing there are so many people willing to help.

To support the Just Breathe: Portraits of Adults Living with Cystic Fibrosis project, visit

A portion of the money raised will go directly to Cystic Fibrosis Canada to help fund vital CF research and care.

More information about Ian’s portrait project is also available at: