"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.

Andrea Eisenman

In April, Andrea Eisenman celebrated the 10-year anniversary of her double-lung transplant. She is 45 and is an active volunteer in the CF and organ donation communities.

Andrea’s Transplant Story

“When I was in my teens and early 20s, I wasn’t disciplined about my treatment and my health. ... I was hospitalized several times for pneumonia, and my prognosis was not good. In my early 30s as my health was deteriorating, I was placed on the lung transplant waiting list. ... In 2000, at the age of 35, I received a double-lung transplant. Despite my condition, it wasn’t an easy decision. There was no guarantee that it would go well, there were a lot of risk factors. ... Recently, I passed the 10-year anniversary of my transplant, and I’m doing things that I never expected to do.”

On Staying Healthy

“I try to do up to an hour-and-a-half a day of anything that’s cardiovascular to keep my lungs clear. To maintain my health, I go to the gym, swim, play tennis, and go bike riding. I have been in the Transplant Games twice, and I’ve won a silver and a bronze medal.”

On Volunteering

“One of my inspirations during my toughest years and since has been participating in and serving the CF community. For many years, I felt isolated because I didn’t know anyone with CF. It wasn’t until 1997, when I went to a Cystic Fibrosis Research Inc. conference in California, that I met people who were living and working with CF. These were people I could talk to, and they would understand what I was going through. At the conference, I met a volunteer who worked on the CF Roundtable newsletter, and she asked me to join the Board. I began to volunteer on the publication, which I still do today. I also volunteer for the New York Organ Donor Network, and I participate in CF walks.”

Andrea’s Role Model

“My mother. I lived with her when I was too sick to be independent, and she’s always been there for me. She has kept me from giving up. She and her parents escaped from the Nazis in Austria, and I think that’s where I inherited my survivor skills.”

Because of BEF

“CF may become a manageable chronic disease instead of a chronic, fatal disease. BEF funds important research while helping people with CF achieve their physical and education goals. They help smaller organizations reach a larger CF population (CF Roundtable, for example). They have also brought CF from a little know disease, when I was growing up, to one that is being featured on television and in the press mostly due to Boomer Esiason’s efforts. BEF gives me hope for the future, that I may yet witness a cure to CF in my lifetime. I am grateful to BEF and all it does for the CF community.”

Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving
Favorite Food: Japanese
Favorite Pastime: Several. I love reading fictional literature and non-fiction. Cooking. I love to go to the movies, and I watch a lot of documentaries.
Favorite Movie: Paradise Lost (documentary)
Favorite Music: REM, Liz Phair, Bob Mould, Led Zeppelin, trip-hop, Olive, Air, Morcheeba, and ‘80s stuff
Favorite Color: Olive
Nickname: Andy
One Word to Describe You:Quirky
Role Model: My mother. I lived with her when I was too sick to be independent, and she’s always been there for me. She has kept me from giving up. She and her parents escaped from the Nazis in Austria, and I think that’s where I inherited my survivor skills.
Words of Wisdom: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Dream Vacation: Somewhere tropical or in the Mediterranean.

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