Day 15- Sixty Five Roses

Today is day 15 of National Health Blog Month from Wego Health. Today’s topic: From the bonus prompts list, raise awareness for another condition.

Sixty-five roses. I learned that phrase when I became friends with Katharine. Sixty-five roses is what children sometimes call cystic fibrosis and each February Kat and our friends at Denison sold roses to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I met Kat my sophomore year through our sorority. At first Kat was my Big Sis’ roommate, my sorority sister, but we have a deeper bond.

Kat has Cystic Fibrosis. What’s different about her story is that Kat wasn’t diagnosed until she was 16, compared to 70% of CF patients who are diagnosed by age two. Kat’s form of cystic fibrosis causes her body produce a sticky, thick, mucus that clogs her lungs and can cause life-threatening lung infections. Everyday Kat has to put on a vibrating vest to knock the mucus off her lungs, two different nebulizer treatments, medicine via inhaler and pills.

While our diseases are very different, we understand each other. We were both diagnosed in high school and had a hard time wrapping our heads around our respective diseases, especially while trying to live a normal college life. You can’t really understand that balancing act until you’ve done it yourself.

Katharine and I

Kat is a huge reason I blog and a huge reason I’ve become involved in raising awareness via social networks. Kat started From A to Pink a few years ago to raise awareness and help keep her accountable for her daily regimen of medicine and treatments. She started participating in health activism chats and through our frequent Twitter and Gchat conversations I became involved as well.

Over the years Kat has raised an estimated $20,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, spoken at CFF events throughout Maryland, was featured by the Baltimore Sun as “10 to watch under 30” and Fox 45 and CFF’s 35 under 35. I can only hope to be half the advocate she is.

( Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun / April 2012 )

Despite a prevalent, hacking cough, iv treatments, diminished lung function, and facing an estimated life expectancy of  35, Kat continues to raise money, raise awareness and remain positive. Like lupus, cystic fibrosis has no cure and no perfect treatment. Yes, she can get a lung transplant if it comes to that, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Cystic Fibrosis conductance Transmembrane Regulator is a defective protein in her body. Just like if I received a kidney transplant, my lupus wouldn’t disappear and could affect the new organ.

Kat and I always say we’ll beat the odds, they’ll find cures, and “we’ll outlive them all!” I can’t tell you how much it helps to have her saying it with me.


2 thoughts on “Day 15- Sixty Five Roses

  1. Aw 🙂 Meeting a friend with similarly tough health problems was incredible for me. I know how strong that bond can be and how great it is to know someone who knows how tough being sick can be. I’m glad that you have found a friend who sounds as lovely as Katharine.

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