Learn about cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs, and how to treat and live with this chronic disease.
CF is a rare genetic disease found in about 30,000 people in the U.S. If you have CF or are considering testing for it, knowing about the role of genetics in CF can help you make informed decisions about your health care.
If you or your child has just been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, or your doctor has recommended testing for CF, you may have many questions.
Diagnosing CF is a multistep process. A complete diagnostic evaluation should include a newborn screening, a sweat chloride test, a genetic or carrier test, and a clinical evaluation at a CF Foundation-accredited care center.
Raising a child with cystic fibrosis can bring up many questions because CF affects many aspects of your child’s life. Here you’ll find resources to help you manage your child’s daily needs and find the best possible CF care.
Living with cystic fibrosis comes with many challenges, including medical, social, and financial. By learning more about how you can manage your disease every day, you can ultimately help find a balance between your busy lifestyle and your CF care.
People with CF are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. As an adult with CF, you may reach key milestones you might not have considered. Planning for these life events requires careful thought as you make decisions that may impact your life.
People with cystic fibrosis are living longer and more fulfilling lives, thanks in part to specialized CF care and a range of treatment options.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited care centers provide expert care and specialized disease management to people living with cystic fibrosis.
We provide funding for and accredit more than 120 care centers and 53 affiliate programs nationwide. The high quality of specialized care available throughout the care center network has led to the improved length and quality of life for people with CF.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation provides standard care guidelines based on the latest research, medical evidence, and consultation with experts on best practices.
As a clinician, you’re critical in helping people with CF maintain their quality of life. We’re committed to helping you partner with patients and their families by providing resources you can use to improve and continue to provide high-quality care.
As part of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's mission to help improve the lives of people living with cystic fibrosis, the PSDC initiative taps the CF community to inform key efforts to support the management of daily care.
Your cystic fibrosis care team includes a group of CF health care professionals who partner with you to provide specialized, comprehensive CF care.
Many cystic fibrosis patients and families face complicated issues related to getting the care they need. But CF Foundation Compass makes sure that no one has to do it alone.
For many people with cystic fibrosis, dealing with insurance is as much a part of living with the disease as nebulizers and vests. Many people with CF and their families face issues related to getting the care they need, but no one has to do it alone.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for CF and supports a broad range of research initiatives to tackle the disease from all angles.
The CF Foundation offers a number of resources for learning about clinical trials and treatments that are being developed to improve the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
Our understanding of CF continues to evolve as scientists study what causes the disease and how it affects the body. These insights drive the development of new and better treatments and bring us one step closer to a cure.
Researchers, supported by the CF Foundation, have made tremendous advances to improve the health and quality of life of people with CF. We are committed to providing the tools and resources you need to continuously build upon this work.
Our goal is to educate policy makers about the needs of people with cystic fibrosis so that they make smart decisions about CF-related research, treatment, and access to care.
We recognize the value of tapping into the expertise that only people with CF and their families have. We invite you to share insights to help improve and develop programs and services that support the daily lives of people with CF.
Our mission is to find a cure for cystic fibrosis and improve the quality of life for those living with the disease. We can't do it alone. Help us add tomorrows by giving today.
In addition to working for a cure, the CF Foundation supports programs and policies to improve the lives of people with CF. Help us by raising awareness of CF, participating in a fundraising event, or volunteering with your local chapter.
Because I have cystic fibrosis, people are often shocked when I tell them that I'm a fire chief and an in-flight paramedic. Although the road has been difficult, I am driven to test my potential and fulfill my dreams.
April 25, 2017
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I have spent the last 35 years of my life living with cystic fibrosis. I was diagnosed about one month after I was born and was often in and out of the hospital for long stays. By the time I made it to my late teens, I wanted to find a way that I could make a difference, while managing my disease.
When I was 17, I decided I wanted to become a paramedic and a firefighter. I had spent my childhood riding in the back of my grandfather's firetruck, and I knew that this was the path I wanted too. The doctors highly discouraged this because of the risk of lung injuries and being exposed to multiple infectious diseases.
But I realized that if I wanted to make an impact in the lives of others and really test my potential, I would need to make the decision that allowed me to stay true to myself.
Though the road has been long and I have witnessed a great deal of suffering, it has only driven me to continue. I've had a successful career as a paramedic and a firefighter, constantly reminding myself that I could do anything a healthy person could do and I wouldn't let CF get in the way. After 17 years of public service, I have made it to the level of not only fire chief, but also a flight paramedic. I spent eight years in the U.S. Army as a combat medic, and I recently finished a bachelor's degree in health care management and am now finishing my nursing degree.
Has it been easy? No, not at all. I have to struggle every day to get up and push forward. Lack of sleep from the job and from spending many nights coughing has made things even more difficult. But I believe that I was blessed with a challenge that I can use to benefit others.
During my military training, I constantly had to tell myself that I could do it -- especially because the military had no clue that I had this condition. As a firefighter, I've had to enforce strict safety measures for myself and wear a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), which is required for fighting fires and works by restricting your breathing even further. The physical demands of my jobs are very high, but for me it is all about the drive to do something that a healthy person can do and do it just as well (or better). Many times, just seeing the shock on people's faces when they hear what I do with my condition is enough to keep me pushing forward. It gives me a sense of pride and encouragement that I can represent the CF world with my successes.
I have met some amazing people with CF through the online CF community, and many of them have become firefighters, emergency medical technicians, or made a career in law enforcement. I plan to start interviewing these men and women, so stay tuned for more on the blog.
I believe that waking up every day as a person with CF is a chance to do something more with your illness. Think of it this way: Most people wake up taking life for granted. But as a person with CF, you wake up thinking, “I made it another day.” Why not test your potential? It may not be as a firefighter, paramedic, police officer, or soldier, but there are so many options available for you. Go for the gold. How many successful people were told they couldn't do something and then proved themselves despite skepticism and failure?
Every day is a gift for me, so I am determined to test my potential, make a positive impact, and prove that my health will not keep me from achieving my dreams.
I am almost always available for comment unless I am treating a patient or fighting a fire, and I will answer any questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you, and, until next time … just breathe.
Adult with CF
Rick was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was one month old. In addition to serving the last 17 years as a veteran of the fire service, he has been the Fire Chief at Punkin-Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department since 2013, and is also a flight paramedic with Air Rescue/Air-Evac out of Texas. He also served eight years as a combat medic in the U.S. Army with the sixth and seventh Calvary. He earned his bachelor’s degree in health care management from Argosy University, and is currently pursuing his associate’s degree as a registered nurse. Rick has received the Medal of Bravery and Firefighter Cross, among other awards, throughout his career.
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This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. It is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.
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