I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth. My parents were told that I would not live to see my 18th birthday. While we always remained hopeful, my family and I never thought that I would experience major life milestones, such as college graduation or getting married.
While I have had my fair share of challenges with CF, I have always refused to let this disease limit or define me. When I made it to my 18th birthday, I had already endured 12 sinus surgeries, two stomach surgeries and more hospitalizations than I can count. But, I had also experienced so many wonderful things -- like going to overnight camp with my friends and attending my high school prom.
The most amazing thing of all was that I was making plans for my future -- a future that I didn't think I was going to have. When I had outlived my life expectancy, I wanted more. I wanted to go away to college, to live in a foreign country and to get married.
Fast forward to today -- more than 10 years later -- and I am proud of the amazing milestones I have achieved and the wonderful memories that I have created. I went to college in beautiful Santa Barbara, Calif. and studied abroad in Sydney, Australia.
Of course, I've had many difficult days with CF but there have been so many life-changing ones -- like my wedding day. I am now 30 years old and married to a wonderful man named Danny.
Walking down the aisle to marry my husband was symbolic of so much more than just a marriage; it was proving that I have beaten the odds and am going to get to experience life in a way that I never thought possible. To say that my wedding was an emotional day is an understatement.
None of this would have been possible without the generosity and support of so many people. By supporting the CF Foundation, countless donors have helped advance the medical research that has extended my life and has enabled me to experience all that life has to offer. I am grateful every single day to all of the people who have helped to get me to this point in my life. And, I am beyond excited to see what my future holds.
In celebration of the milestones we've already achieved and for adding tomorrows for all people with CF, I'm asking you to join me in making a donation to the CF Foundation this holiday season -- it could mean a milestone for someone you love with CF.