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