"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.

Karen Vega

Go to Karen's January 2011 podcast with BEF's Jerry Cahill.

I am 30 years old and currently living in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. I have always lived in New York; I grew up in the Bronx with one brother who is now 26 and also living with CF. I attended Fordham University, where I studied accounting. After college, I worked on Wall Street for six years, which was a very exciting part of my life.

I am now in a new stage of my life as I am a wife and a mother. I have been married for six years to my wonderful husband, Alex, and I have twin two-year-old-boys, Jayden and Logan. As you can imagine, they are now my full-time job, and I love every minute of it. When my husband and I made the decision to have children, we met with our doctor to discuss the possibility. My doctor wanted my PFT’s above 70 percent, and once we found out Alex was not a carrier for CF, we had the green light to go ahead. My boys are healthy and neither of them have CF. It was very difficult at first to bounce back into my routine of taking care of myself after having the boys, but I have now figured it out with help from my family. I have learned I am the most productive during “nap time!"

I was diagnosed with CF when I was eight months old, and I am thankful my parents did not treat me any differently. I played soccer and did cheerleading to stay in shape, and about a year ago, I got into running. I trained many long and tiring hours for the New York City Marathon, and I still run on a regular basis. To me, running is a huge part of my life, and it keeps me healthy! I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children ... CF has not determined my life for me, I have determined it for myself, and I am forever grateful.

Favorite Holiday: Christmas
Favorite Food: Ice cream
Favorite Color: Purple
One Word That Describes You: Determined
Dream Vacation: Australia
Hobbies: Scrapbooking and running
You can find Karen on ... Facebook and Cystic Life

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