“Never let fears get in the way of your dreams”
I have dealt with CF pretty much since the beginning. I was diagnosed at 18 months, and grew up in the San Francisco, Bay Area. My mom basically threw me in the pool at 5 years old, and that’s really when I found my love for swimming. That was also when we first saw the impact that exercise can have for CF patients, I didn’t cough once that night after first being in the pool. A few years later, I got into competitive swimming and have been competing ever since. At first, I won many races and was very successful at a lot of my meets. Later in life, though, I felt that my lungs were holding me back from achieving my true potential as a swimmer.
Although exercise and swimming were a huge part of my life, I found that my treatments were always the difference maker. Because of this mentality, I was able to complete my undergraduate degree in four years and then my master’s in three years, both of which in counseling psychology at Santa Clara University.
After I completed school, though, my health seemed to deteriorate pretty rapidly. Four years after graduating with my Master’s, I was listed for transplant and underwent a successful double-lung transplant in November 2010. Since transplant, I have found that exercise makes a huge difference in daily life. I can definitely tell the days apart when I do and do not work out.
Some of my greatest accomplishments have come after transplant. I got back in the pool and started swimming competitively again. I have competed in the Transplant Games of America and have won five gold medals. I also took part in the World Transplant Games in South Africa and won two gold’s and one silver, plus a bronze in a relay event. My new lungs have given me the opportunity to swim freely, something I am truly grateful for.
My favorite color is purple
I love cheeseburgers
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I received my lungs and a new lease on life two days before Thanksgiving in 2010.
My favorite movie has to be the Princess Bride.
Michael Phelps has always been an icon for me.
One word that describes me is certainly, perseverance.
If I could give one piece of advice to a newly diagnosed CF patient, I would tell him or her to NEVER GIVE UP!