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Cystic Fibrosis

“My name is Olivia and I am 24. I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of 11. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic, progressive and fatal disease. Having CF means that something called a CFTR protein is dysfunctional in my body. Basically, this leads to mucus build up in various organs in the body and can lead to inflammation, infections, respiratory failure and other complications. Mostly, it affects my lungs, causing shortness of breath, coughing, frequent illness and hospitalizations. I currently spend 2 or more hours a day doing lung treatments to keep myself healthy. In the last year, I’ve had 4 hospitalizations and been on countless rounds of oral and IV antibiotics. While it has been a rough year, it has also taught me so much. I have learned the strength of myself and my family. I have also learned to advocate for myself and others, which is so incredibly important. Something many people don’t realize about CF is that it’s considered an invisible illness. You can’t see the damage in our lungs, or the mucus clogging our organs, or the progression of the illness.  While there are multiple problems with CF being an invisible illness, one pops up when we’re working to spread awareness.  It’s hard to spread awareness for an illness where the patients are extremely sick, but they look “fine.” In a situation like this, knowledge is everything. I recently began using my Instagram @olivia.grace.clark as a way to connect with other CFers, while also educating and raising awareness. To everyone working to raise awareness for any cause, thank you for being such an amazing, uplifting and strong community to take part in.” @olivia.grace.clark

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