"CF may be a part of you, but do not let it define you."
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.

Paul Drury

Go to Paul's February 2009 podcast with BEF's Jerry Cahill

Paul's Story

Born in Chesire, Conn., with five older brothers and sisters, I was diagnosed with CF at the age of two. Growing up, I had a normal, active childhood with the “usual” cleanouts — playing sports like baseball, golf and hockey in high school. When I began attending the University of Connecticut in the late 1980s, I found adjusting to college life very difficult. I was very private about having cystic fibrosis and avoided telling my friends, so as not to be treated differently.

During my first semester at school, I got pneumonia. My lung collapsed three times during my second semester, resulting in one of my lungs being glued to the inside of my chest in an attempt to prevent a future collapse. However, my other lung collapsed, forcing me to miss a full year of school at UConn and to return home.

Although it was a struggle, spending the year at home turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In November, my dad passed away after a heart attack. That spring and fall with him at home, watching the Red Sox go to the World Series, provided me with memories that I still cherish.

Paul's Life Post-Lung Transplant

After I graduated from UConn with a degree in economics, my condition worsened, causing me to receive a double-lung transplant. Following my transplant, I created a marathon golf event as a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In 1996, I was put on the CFF staff and have since become the Director of Special Projects and the Executive Director of the Connecticut chapter. Now, at the age of 43, I have learned that living with CF has given me a unique perspective on life, one that has taught me to live in the moment and never lose hope.

I currently live in Plantsville, Conn., with my wife and two dogs — taking one day at a time and always maintaining a positive outlook on life.

A Fun Fact about Paul: My wife, Ivona, bought me at a CF bachelor bid in 1998. We have been together ever since.
Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving
Favorite Food: Chicken
Favorite Pastime: Painting (pointillism is my specialty!) and the Boston Red Sox
One Word that Describes You: Witty
Role Model: My mom
Dream Vacation: Alaska (I traveled there with Boomer!)
You can find Paul on … Facebook