Today, I had the honor to speak at the CF Walk. Below is a copy of my speech. Enjoy!
Welcome to the 2016 south Austin great strides walk! My name is Emily Ingram. I am 23 years old and have cystic fibrosis. Not too long ago, CF was considered a childhood disease because people with cf did not live long into adulthood. I'm here to tell you that, thanks to the CF Foundation, half of all people with CF are now adults, and people with CF are living longer, fuller, healthier lives. I am one of those adults with CF. And let me tell you: I am living a great, somewhat normal life. Last May, I graduated from Baylor University with my bachelor's in communication sciences and disorders with a minor in linguistics. I am now at UT Dallas working on receiving my master's at one of the top speech pathology graduate schools in the country. I live by myself in an apartment in Dallas and manage all my treatments, appointments, and pill fixing. I do miss school occasionally for things like doctor's appointments and hospitalizations, but I always catch up and have perfected the art of time management. I have wonderful friends, incredibly family and an amazing boyfriend who always support me, encourage me, love me, and challenge me. I have started pushing myself to exercise and participated in a 5k in 47 minutes last weekend. Yes, I have to work at staying healthy. And yes, I have to carve time out of my busy day to stay compliant with therapies. But I am still living, and I'm still pursuing my dreams and challenging myself to continue learning and continue succeeding.
The CF Foundation funds research for therapies and treatments to help people with cystic fibrosis. This year, I have had the opportunity to directly participate in CF research in a vertex clinical trial for people with one copy of the most common Cf mutation and one other mutation. Ideally, this study drug targets the underlying cause of cf. Regardless of the results of the study, it has been awesome for me to get to participate, and through it, we are learning more and more about the mutations that cause cf and potential medications to significantly change a person with cf's quality of life. This vertex study is the result of your donations and support of the CF Foundation. There are so many more drugs available to cf patients now than there were 23 years ago when I was diagnosed, and I can't wait to see the progress we make in the coming years. It is a joy for me to see so many potentially life changing medications coming down the pipeline.
With your donations and support, people like me with cf can continue to live long, healthy lives. We can finish college, get married, have kids, get our masters or PhDs--we can do whatever we put our minds to. We just need to be given the chance to fight this disease. We need you in this search for the cure. Thank you for your continued support, and have a great time at the walk.