On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, many people may not have heard of cystic fibrosis or met someone with the disease — but members of the community are quick to offer their support when Sherry Meyer introduces them to the CF cause.
Determined to raise awareness and funds in honor of her daughter, Rachel, 6, who has CF, Sherry has played a lead role in organizing the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter’s Honolulu Great Strides walk for the past four years.
“The dollars are important for research, especially when we are getting closer to a cure,” she says. Sherry believes that one day, thanks to medical research made possible by CF Foundation supporters, Rachel will only need to take one pill to survive.
“If she could take one pill versus 10 to 12 a day and feel good, I would take that!” she says.
Sherry, Russ and Rachel Meyer wear their Rachel’s Rangers T-shirts during the Great Strides Honolulu Walk this May, raising more than $5,500 through their team. Sherry has been the solo organizer of the walk for the past four years.
Staying Active and Positive in the Face of CF Challenges
Sherry and Rachel live on Hawaii’s third largest island, along with Rachel’s dad, Lt. Col. Russ Meyer, who is stationed at the U.S. Army’s military base, Fort Shafter. The family’s philosophy in dealing with CF is not to let Rachel feel sorry for herself, and to focus on leading an active, healthy lifestyle.
Sherry even writes a blog about living and staying active with CF. Visitors to the site are greeted by the smiling face of her stunning blue-eyed daughter and the family’s mantra: “Take a Hike CF!” And they mean it, literally.
Through blog entries and photos, Sherry keeps track of all their hikes and adventures, including parasailing over a pod of dolphins, swimming in the surf and playing on a black sand beach while watching sea turtles.
The journeys aren’t just fun for the family — the exercise also offers health benefits to help Rachel feel good and stay healthy.
“Taking care of CF is something we do every day,” Sherry says. “It’s routine — we get it done and get on with our day.”
Sherry knew her blog was making an impact after she received an email from a fellow CF mom:
“I love seeing how much fun you have with your daughter,” she wrote. “It shows me that you can take care of their CF, but still have a ton of fun, travel, and have fun adventures. I can't wait to do the same with my daughter!”
Cooking to Keep Up with Nutritional Needs
Sherry, who loves to cook, also writes a high-calorie recipe blog featuring nutritional recipes that are a hit with Rachel and help provide her with extra calories to compensate for the malabsorption of nutrients.
Rachel has maintained her health, and Sherry credits that to answered prayers, a high-calorie, high-fiber diet, effective treatments and medications, and daily exercise that includes gymnastics, biking, hiking and enjoying the waves on “beach day.”
“I hope that my participation in Great Strides and my CF blogs help others by showing them how having a positive attitude, having fun with your family, and really valuing each moment can go a long way in living with CF,” Sherry says.