NOVEMBER 4, 2022
I come from a single parent household, so my mom and I have been a team throughout my life, and we had additional support from my grandparents while they were alive. In my adult years, I was able to find the greatest partner. I have a fantastic fiancé who has been my biggest advocate and supporter through my trying times of battling this disease. He always sticks up for me and I know he has my back.
My mother had the perfect pregnancy until she went into labour. I had a perforated bowel and needed emergency surgery at four hours old. A week later, I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. With an early diagnosis, I never knew life without CF. It has always been a part of me, but it never stopped me from accomplishing my goals.
The first time I remember realizing I was different was when I was four years old taking my morning medications. I asked my mother why I needed them, and her response was that they were helping me stay healthy. She said that if I continued to do what needed to be done, I would stay healthy. I continue to live in that mindset.
One of my all-time favourite memories is when I was 15 years old and got to sing with Josh Groban at his concert. Music was a big part of my life, being in vocal class and choir; and being given the chance to sing on an actual stage and with a well-known musician was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I remember a week prior to that event I was having issues with my lungs, not being able to stop bleeding and was determined not to lose my voice in order to perform. I was gurgling salt water, sucking on lemons and not speaking in order to save my voice from all the coughing.
I have been involved with the CF Canada Kingston Chapter and have a team of CF Warriors that have raised over $20,000 in the last couple of years. I had to pull back due to COVID and underlying health issues, but I am always trying to raise awareness through my social media. Even though CFer’s are unable to be together face-to-face, we have a big online community. Within the last two years I have made great friendships with others through the Singspire program that Breathebravely has made. You are not in this alone, and we are all here to hear each other and be there for one another.
Being a healthcare worker, I find that I don’t get to check out the Elevate projects as much as I would like to, due to shift work. However, I enjoy being able to suggest what research studies CF Canada should participate in. I think it gives fellow Canadians with CF or family members a voice, allows them to find more information about the disease, and provides a place for the community to see others fighting the same fight.
My biggest advice to others fighting this disease is to continue to live life to the fullest. I remember applying to colleges in grade 12 while I was in the hospital. Now, I have successfully completed the pre-health sciences and medical radiation technology programs at Fanshawe College and have been working as a medical radiation technologist for the last 12 years.