Today, my family and I went to the Austin Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis. We've participated in these walks for as long as I can remember. I've spoken at several of the events (some of my more recent speeches are actually on YouTube courtesy of my dad), and we always strive to raise as much money as possible for the CF Foundation. Although we didn't put together a huge team like we have in previous years, I still loved taking part in the walk. The strange thing is, I was one of the older patients with CF in attendance. Instead of my age adults, I saw all these cute kids, playing with their brothers and sisters and throwing around complementary frisbees (with their leis around their necks, so others knew who had CF). I understand why pictures of children are always used to encourage outside donations. No child should EVER have to go through what I've gone through with CF. One of the precious girls who spoke was only 6 years old and had clearly been in the hospital a few times based on what she said (She actually said she enjoyed the hospital, besides getting a PICC line placed. I don't think I ever said that!) At my age, people are having a few more health issues, and it's not quite as moving to see a 20 year old succeeding with CF as it is to see an adorable 6 year old being forced to grow up way too fast because of a life-altering disease. Another part of the walk this year was to talk about who people were walking for. I almost teared up when several people were asked to share. The care from all sorts of friends and family members was so tangible, even outdoors in an open space. I really don't know how any CFer makes it without a fantastic love and support system. CF isn't a disease a person can handle well on his or her own. You need a group of people who will encourage you, care for you (even when you don't want to be taken care of), challenge you, and cherish you. I saw this kind of community all around me at the walk today, and it made me so thankful for such a tight-knit, courageous group of people I call my CF brothers and sisters.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the walk, donated money, and/or organized any part of the day today! You reminded me why we will not give up searching for a cure. God bless you guys!