After years of being treated as an oddity, I want people to acknowledge that I am a Black girl with cystic fibrosis. I want my voice to be heard.
My son, who is Black, has cystic fibrosis. It seems like just a normal fact of life, but I have become frustrated with having to convince doctors that he really does have CF. I hope that one day people of color won’t have to have the same experience.
When my daughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, I found it difficult to explain this disease to my parents in Spanish, and I also felt alone in my rural community. That is why I think it is important to bring CF awareness to the Hispanic community.
I struggled emotionally after learning that after negative carrier and newborn screens, my son had cystic fibrosis. I’m now advocating for people with rare mutations.
I felt so alone as a kid being gay and having CF — there weren’t any role models in the 80s and 90s that I could look up to. Eventually, I found people who understood what I was going through and that helped me feel good about who I was, and who I am today.
My children’s experiences being African American with cystic fibrosis motivated me to speak out and ignite change for families who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in the CF community.
As a black man with cystic fibrosis, I am in a minority group within a minority group. I waited my whole life to find someone I could easily relate to until I happened upon a Facebook group for post-transplant patients.