Since I can remember, my family has always shared an incredibly tight bond. We spend a lot of time together, hosting family dinners and playing board games with all the kids. We know that we can always count on each other in all circumstances. I also have a wonderful relationship with my sister, who shares my love of all things reading, cinema and overpriced coffee.
When we first learned of her son, my godson, Émerick’s cystic fibrosis (CF) diagnosis, it came as a shock as we’ve never had a CF case in the extended family. Émerick was “lucky”, so to speak, to be diagnosed before he was born, so my sister and her husband could prepare well ahead of his arrival. Through such an emotional time, they remained incredibly conscientious and caring.
Our first instinct as a family was to get better informed, so we all knew what my godson would be up against. We immediately wondered how we could help and wanted my sister and her husband to know they were not alone in this. We’ve been so fortunate to have such a strong support system amongst our friends and family. They’re very empathetic and are fantastic listeners. In fact, many have become loyal volunteers over the years, and we can always count on their presence and involvement.
After Émerick’s diagnosis, I decided to call Cystic Fibrosis Canada (CF Canada), and make my first donation. I knew I could not change his situation, but I wanted to find other ways to make a difference. When the organization told me about the Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History, I was eager to participate and help. From that point on, I became part of the organizing committee for the event.
It was so positive and motivating, I think I even cried at my first meeting! I discovered such a beautiful group of humans united in adversity who, like me, just wanted to make a difference for the CF community. Being more involved with Cystic Fibrosis Canada also became an avenue for me to ask questions, air out my concerns, and feel reassured. As part of Émerick’s extended family, I was worried about my godson who, though unborn at the time, I already loved so deeply.
For my family, the Walk to Make CF History is the time of year when we come together with the CF community, united under a common purpose, to raise money and accomplish great things. Cystic fibrosis is such an isolating disease, so participating in the Walk gives us the opportunity to be there for Émerick and for all the wonderful people I’ve met through my involvement.
In 2020 during the Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History: Virtual Challenge, I had just given birth to my second baby so I was far from being in shape for a physical challenge. I asked myself, what could I offer to inspire people to give? Then I thought about my long, thick hair, and the idea of shaving it off to represent the invisibility of this disease, for my Virtual Challenge. Several of my family members joked that they wouldn’t donate to my fundraiser, just so I wouldn’t shave my head! Through this, I came up with the fundraising name “Shave it or Don’t Shave it”. This way, people could vote whether I would shave my hair in exchange for a donation. Turns out, on June 27th, I would end up shaving all my hair off. To mark the day, we took a family walk in the neighbourhood.
Personally, what Cystic Fibrosis Canada and the CF community has given me is a thousand times greater than what I thought I would have been able to give back. They’ve given me and my family the power to make an impact – whether it is through our fundraising, our time, or even just getting someone new to join the community.
For over 15 years, the CF community has come together every year at the Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History, united in the pursuit of a cure. Due to the ongoing global situation caused by COVID-19, the walk will remain virtual format in an effort to keep our community safe.
What do you #GoFurtherFor? Register, fundraise and donate today, and complete your challenge by or on Sunday May 30th, for the virtual Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History.Register Now