"I try to reassure everyone who has been affected by this disease that CF isn't the end of the world if you don't want it to be."
The experience of living with cystic fibrosis is markedly different today than it was decades ago. Thanks to the discovery of the CF gene, the availability of effective drug therapies and advances in technology, the 30,000 Americans who deal with the disease day in and day out are living longer and fuller lives. In a word, they are thriving.

Keith Connolly

Listen to Jerry Cahill's podcast with twins Keith and Kyle Connolly (February 2007)

 

Keith's Story

My name is Keith Connolly, and I am 26 years old. I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when I was just six weeks old, so the life I have always known is one with CF. I was born and raised in Cincinnati and am one of three brothers, two stepsisters and a stepbrother. Kyle is my identical twin, and he also has CF. Thomas, who is 17, and Michael, who is 8, do not have CF. Kyle and I were lucky enough to have mild cases of CF. I was not hospitalized until I was in college, but that was a very hard and grueling time for me. I did always stay active in sports, which most definitely benefited my health. Through grade school, I participated in baseball, soccer and football, and through high school, I was part of the wrestling and cross country teams.

Keith on Attending College with CF

I attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, and that is when, unfortunately, my health took a turn for the worse. I was diagnosed with “BOOP,” an inflammatory disease in the lungs. I was only the second person in the world to be diagnosed with both that and CF. I was also diagnosed my sophomore year with diabetes, and all of this caused me to be sick through most of college, with my PFT’s plummeting down to 40 percent lung function. However, I was committed and passionate about fighting through, and I am happy to report that after graduating college, I attended graduate school and received my MBA in 2010. I also passed my CPA exam that year.

Keith on Weightlifting

My lung function is now up to 110%, and I credit this to consistent running and my newfound love for weight lifting. I became interested in competitive weight lifting about two years ago, and it has become a huge part of my life. This past July, I competed in the national championship and placed fourth in my weight class.

Keith's Mission

I am at a very comfortable part of my life and have realized that exercise and being compliant by staying organized and planning ahead of time really pays off for my health. As a new personal banker at JP Morgan Chase, I plan to continue staying healthy by planning out my days and staying motivated to beat this disease. I see a cure in the future, and I can only hope that I am here to witness that day!

Favorite Holiday: Christmas

Favorite Food: Steak

Favorite Pastime: Baseball

Favorite Movie: Rocky

Favorite Music: Rock & Roll

Favorite Color: Red

One Word to Describe You: Enjoyable

Words of Wisdom: “Exercise is just as important as being compliant with your treatments.”

Dream Vacation: Europe

You Can Find Keith On ... Facebook and LinkedIn