Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story

Although keeping up with daily cystic fibrosis treatments can be frustrating, it is key for staying healthy and living the life you want to live. So, Superhero Big Air Jerry was born to help kids with CF feel more empowered in their daily CF care and overcome challenges through positivity.

| 4 min read
Jerry Cahill Headshot
Jerry Cahill

We've all had moments in our lives when things are going really well and it's easy to see the positivity in everything around us. But, the real challenge comes when adversity strikes. Adversity comes in many different forms and is different for everyone. That's why it's also up to each person to determine his or her response to a less than desirable situation.

In my own life, I truly believe that choosing positivity and reinvention -- when I am challenged and feel like my back might be up against the wall -- has not only made me stronger and healthier, but happier in my life.

When I was younger, I vividly recall being admitted to the hospital (in what I call the “dark ages” of cystic fibrosis). I found hospital stays to be horribly daunting, as the prognosis of the disease was bleak and I was missing out on time with my friends, family, and yes, even school. Simply put, I felt like I was missing out on the life I wanted to live. That's when I knew that I had a choice to make -- I could succumb to pity or grab life by the horns and LIVE.

I decided at a very young age to take an active role in my own health and do whatever I had to in order to avoid the four walls of a hospital room. This decision, coupled with growing up in a big family with supportive parents, helped me develop a lifelong foundation of a positive, consistent mindset that's led to an extraordinarily strong connection between spirit, body, and mind. I didn't realize it when I was young boy, but it was probably then that the idea of Superhero Big Air Jerry started to take shape.

When you have CF, the daily treatment routine can become frustrating and make you feel ostracized from other kids. At the same time, however, being consistent with your treatments is key if you want to not only live, but thrive. Just as an athlete cannot train once a week and expect to be a champion or a student expect to skip class and succeed in school, you cannot stay healthy without being compliant on a daily basis.

I created the character of Superhero Big Air Jerry to help parents empower their kids with CF through a relatable superhero. These kids develop confidence when they meet Big Air Jerry, as they see how cool his superpowers are (which include tornado force inhalations/exhalations, a pill case in his belt that wards off bad stuff, teaching kids compliance and deep breathing, taking daily medications to maintain his superhero status, keeping his lungs clear with his special nebulizer hose, and more).


At the same time, Superhero Big Air Jerry is not perfect and, in this way, is much like myself. I know that life will always present me with challenges, whether mental or physical, and I will be knocked down from time to time. In fact, all people will experience this.

So, we must remind ourselves every day to believe and FORGE AHEAD!

This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site 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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Parents & Guardians
Jerry Cahill Headshot

Jerry was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 1967 at the age of 11. Currently a CF Ambassador at the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF), Jerry leads its scholarship and grants division and is the founder of Team Boomer — the athletic arm of BEF dedicated to encouraging exercise among CF patients while simultaneously raising money for scholarships. Other programs he has started include You Cannot Fail, Wind Sprints, and educational podcasts and videos. Cahill is also a pole vault coach and a motivational speaker, focusing on exercise, life with cystic fibrosis, and how transplants are not a cure, but an extension on life that come with additional challenges.

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