Cystic Fibrosis: Portrait of strength

The walk for Cystic Fibrosis is a cause that is very dear to my heart. One of my closest friends, Brittany Peters, battled with the disease her whole life. Cystic Fibrosis is a debilitating disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. This also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. Because of this Brittany spent most of her life going in and out of the hospital, missing out on so many things that normal kids get to do.
This year, Team Brittany attended the Cystic Fibrosis walk at the DCR Artesani Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Together we raised $2,498.00. I am proud to be part of that accomplishment and contribute to finds that will go towards research that will one day find a cure for this devastating disease.
Brittany passed away on July 3rd, 2009 at the young age of 19 years old. In those 19 years she lived a life and had gone through more than most people at 50 can say they have seen. She lived each day being grateful for what she had and not spending time dwelling on all of the negative things in her life. Not once had I ever heard her ask “Why me? Why do I have to be sick all of the time while all of my friends are healthy and get to live their lives without worrying about how each decision would affect their health, or worrying about missing out on things like going to high school or prom or college because they have to be in the hospital the whole time?”
Brittany never complained about any of those things or the cards that she was dealt. Brittany is truly an inspiration of what life is all about. Although she had to face battles that most people won’t see in their lifetime, she never let that get in her way. She lived life by her own rules and did what made her happy and was grateful for all of the things she had in her life.
Brittany told a friend of mine that she loved the Cystic Fibrosis walks because it was a day just for her. It wasn’t a day to dwell on the fact that she had this terrible disease, but a day to celebrate with her closest friends and family, working towards a cure so that others wouldn’t have to go through what she had.
It was so nice to attend the walk this year, with all of Brittany’s closest friends and family. They were all there for one reason, to celebrate her life and everything she means to us. Through Brittany’s strength and positive spirit she has made me a better person.

Author: Justine Del Priore
Photography: Justine Del Priore

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