It Takes a Village
Most people hear the saying, “It takes a village,” and can apply it to their own lives. Whether we are raising children, working to succeed in school or professionally, or just trying to make it day-to-day, we all need help. And that is even more true for someone living with cystic fibrosis.
As I have grown older – I have seen friends come and go. But those who are still in my life – those who I think of as family – are the ones who stuck by me through health ups and downs, countless hospitalizations, dry runs for transplant, and life after my double lung transplant.
I have also noticed that I get varied types of support from different groups of people in my life.
My family is there through thick and thin – quietly waiting behind the scenes, but stoically supporting me without wavering.
My ‘kids’ – the pole vaulters whom I coach – are there at every practice, at every meet, keeping me young, helping me stay “hip” to what is going on in their world, and making me feel connected to the sport that gave me so much solace and comfort during difficult times in my life.
My friends – those ones who have stuck by me through everything – are there to give me a break from the world of cystic fibrosis. They don’t ask questions about my health constantly and give me space to just be me.
My business colleagues at the Boomer Esiason Foundation push me to keep going, to try harder, and motivate me to continue my work for the CF community.
My medical team – who is closer to family at this point – quite literally keeps me alive by seeing me at least once a week; by keeping me in line; and by making sure that I stay compliant and positive in the face of adversity.
Our villages can make us or break us. So, if you have cystic fibrosis, I encourage you to build your village – your group of people – with care and honesty and openness. Choose those who can and will be there through the hard times, but will also be there to cheer you on through the great ones.
I can’t say it better than Oprah when she said, “Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.”