Embodying all of the ideals for which the Boomer Esiason Foundation stands, Stephen Bell is the ideal CF Ambassador for Team Boomer. Determined, courageous, and relentless, Steve pushes himself to the limit in every facet of life.
In spite of being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at three months old, and with his parents help, Stephen has done everything in his power to make sure he lives a long and healthy life. At the advice of his doctors, his parents signed him up to play soccer and swim at a very young age – two sports in which he excelled for the next ten years. At thirteen, he hung up his goggles to focus on his true passion – soccer. Playing high level club soccer eventually led to his dream of playing college soccer. He walked onto the Ithaca Men’s Soccer team and was a four-year starter, all-region performer, and was named team captain his senior year.
After college Steve turned to running because, he says, “Running provides me with a sense of freedom that I can’t get anywhere else. Freedom from the stress of life; freedom from the stress of work; freedom from the sense that cystic fibrosis can control me.” In the past six years he’s competed for Team Boomer in eleven half-marathons, seven full marathons, and recently competed in his first NYC Triathlon, all while managing the intricacies and demands of cystic fibrosis and CF-related diabetes.
Steve’s disease does have harsh realities – like one to one-and-a-half hours of daily chest therapies and nebulizers, a seemingly endless number of medications, and constantly managing his blood sugar. Long-term hospitalizations and home IVs due to lung infection are not only a possibility, but also often a reality. His acceptance of disease has given him the clarity to realize that exercise, a positive attitude, and medical compliance allow him to compete at a high level. “Without exercise, I don’t think my lungs would be nearly as strong as they. The foresight my parents had to get me on the soccer field and in the pool at such a young age will pay dividends for years to come.”
Stephen continues to not only be an inspiration to those within the CF community, but also to those he encounters on a daily basis. His message is simple: run fast, speak loud, and breathe easy. Know what you want and take advantage of the opportunities in front of you. And never forget that with hard work, commitment and dedication, anything is possible.
To learn more about Stephen and his journey visit his web site at www.OutRunningTheOdds.com.
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