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Nov/Dec 2009

Above & Beyond

Above & Beyond - Connections - Nov/Dec 2009 - Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Tricia, who has CF, Gwyneth, and Nate
Search online for “Confessions of” and you’ll find every kind of confessional imaginable — from “Confessions of a Cab Driver” to “Confessions of a Travel Writer.”

You’ll also find Nate Lawrenson’s blog, “Confessions of a CF Husband” — a chronicle of triumph over some of the life’s most difficult challenges, loving and living with a person with cystic fibrosis.

Nate began blogging in 2007 a few days after doctors determined his wife, Tricia, was a candidate for a double-lung transplant. At first, Nate blogged to help keep relatives up to date on the daily ups and downs of preparing for the surgery. Today, his blog reflects not only struggles overcome, but a family determined to embrace the journey no matter how hard it gets. The blog receives more than 1 million hits a year.

“People sometimes talk about fighting their disease,” Nate says. “My wife Tricia and I don’t look at it that way. Having cystic fibrosis is part of who Tricia is — all of her experiences and everything she’s gone through add up to the amazing person she is today.”

In the span of four months, Tricia gave birth to a baby girl and underwent a double-lung transplant. Baby Gwyneth was born at just 24 weeks and 4 days gestation, weighing approximately 1 lb 6 oz.

Nate spent day and night in the hospital by Tricia’s side for months, posting updates to his blog to keep family informed about Tricia’s and Gwyneth’s progress.

He never dreamed that his story would reach and inspire so many people. Almost overnight, "Confessions" grew from 50 readers to more than 20,000. “I’m not quite sure how it happened…it’s just one of those viral things,” he says.

Nate does have some ideas about what drew so many readers — most of whom were strangers — to his blog. He thinks, perhaps, it’s that reality TV element. People love a good, true story, he says.

Nate adds, when people share their stories, that’s powerful. “You never know who might find hope in what you’re going through.”

Above & Beyond 2 - Connections - Nov/Dec 2009 - CF Foundation 
Nate and Tricia (with Gywneth, now
22 months) helped to start the Outer
Banks Great Strides walk in 2006. 
It’s not only people with cystic fibrosis who are reading “Confessions.” Nate receives dozens of e-mails daily from people who have no direct connection to CF, some who have other diseases — diabetes, cancer, Lyme disease.

Nate is proud to report that Tricia and baby Gwyneth are both doing well. He writes on his blog, “Tricia and I are slowly returning to a more normal sense of life. We are incredibly excited to have Gwyneth home, and are enjoying our lives as full-time parents.”

The Lawrensons even continue to participate in the Outer Banks Great Strides walk each year, which they helped start in 2006. According to Nate, their team — named “Patty Sue” after Tricia — continues to receive online donations from blog readers whom he has never met.

Nate’s one piece of advice to the CF community: share your story. Just hearing what you’re going through can help and inspire others more than you may know.

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