CF because, not in spite.

A lot of people tell me how amazing they think it is that I’m doing all of these things despite my CF, however the real reason I’m doing them is because of my CF. I love a challenge and proving people wrong and am too determined (and stubborn) to give up. Therefore, no matter how hard it may seem and how many obstacles I need to overcome, I will overcome them. Sometimes this takes longer than you hoped and anticipated but just because something is hard doesn’t mean you should give up. I always find the most rewarding experiences are the ones that are hardest to achieve.

The reason I don’t let anything stop me and that I push past all the barriers in the way is because of my CF. It’s not in spite of it. My mum’s philosophy is that yes, CF may make my life shorter but equally any one of us could be hit by a bus tomorrow. There are no guarantees in life. Therefore, she has never ‘wrapped me in bubble wrap’ because of my disease. One of my main sports is horse riding. I should not technically horse ride because of my CF - there are lots of bacteria in the stables and generally around the horses, which is all air born and when breathed in can cause infections. These bacteria are particularly a problem for people with CF, as the bacteria gets stuck in the stickier mucus in our lungs and loves to live there. I have been asked to stop horse riding countless times, but every time have refused. Some of you may think this is a foolish decision as I am effectively making my CF worse and not taking measures to prevent catching infections, however horse riding was already a part of my family and my life. I don’t actually remember learning to horse ride, I have always done it, therefore stopping has never really been an option. Now I’m not telling everyone with CF to go do things that the hospital don’t want them to do or things that may endanger their health. I’m saying that nothing is impossible. One of my favourite quotes is by Audrey Hepburn, ‘nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible”!’. I am saying that if you have a dream then go chase after it no matter how hard or impossible it may seem. None of us really know how long we’ll live, so you may as well enjoy life while you have it!

My philosophy is that I want to live my life to the fullest while I can and not regret anything. Medication is getting a lot better and the life expectancy of people with CF will most likely exceed 40 soon. However, just in case, I am fully enjoying life now and chasing my dreams, as I don’t want to get to 40 and regret not doing things. To me enjoying life doesn’t mean be happy and doing crazy things every day, because everyone has their off and down days. To me enjoying life is having more good days than bad, more happy days than sad.

Claire Wineland was a young CF sufferer and activist. My mum told me about her and after watching some of her videos I realised how much of mine and her philosophy is similar, despite her being a lot more ill than I. Anyone that hasn’t heard of her I would implore you to google her and watch some of her videos. One of my favourite things she said was, “Go enjoy your life. Really. I mean that seriously. Go enjoy it, ’cause there are people fighting like hell for it.”