This past weekend, my mother, myself and my two sisters loaded our stuff and ourselves into the car and drove down to Columbia, South Carolina. We were traveling 3.5 hours to participate in "An Evening of Miracles"--a CF Fundraiser that was being put together by a childhood buddy/CF Sister and her husband. I was excited mostly to see Jen but was also anticipating selling some books. I had been asked to read a passage from Sick Girl Speaks! and this seemed like a great crowd to receive my message.
Upon arrival, I was astounded to see Jen. She looks great! She will hate me for saying this, but you would never know she has CF. At 36, she was running circles around me and my borrowed, healthy lungs! She is a testimony to how hard work and diligence around therapies and medications can increase a person's quality of life.
Because she was running the show, we didn't get much time for one on one. When we did, however, I was taken aback by the similar roads we have traveled in our lifetimes of dealing with CF, life philosophies and relationships. We knew each other only as children and hadn't seen each other in over 20 years. Despite this fact, I felt as though I could tell her everything and she would understand. When she spoke to me, I felt I could spend months listening and responding. This connection was only one of the many miracles I discovered at "An Evening of Miracles"!
**To see some pics of Jen and I, please visit the "Photos" page of my website!
There were two other families at the event that touched me deeply. One was a man (I did not get the honor of meeting his wife) who had lost his son in February. His son had CF, had a double lung transplant, later a kidney transplant and was waiting on a donor liver! Amazing. I hope this is okay to say, but something about this man reminded me of my beloved grandfather. I felt an immediate warmness towards him for this reason and because of the similar paths we have traveled. He was sponsoring this night in honor of his son and it was often difficult for him, actually impossible, to hold back the tears. Even still, one of my most favorite parts of the night was when I asked him to dance with me! We went out on the dance floor and CUT A RUG! It was so much fun!! This was a moment I will never forget--two strangers connected by difficulty and loss finding a way to celebrate and feel joy. Yet another miracle.
The second family was a wonderful couple who have a 7 year old daughter with CF. You'd never know it--she looks so healthy! This family started "An Evening of Miracles" 4 years ago. They were overwhelmed by the response and that this event had grown so large--400 people attended this year! I had the opportunity to speak with the mother and father of this family. I knew that there was worry inside them--worry for the future of their daughter. I wanted so badly to be able to take that worry away! I know in my heart, it will be okay. No matter what happens, it will be okay. Look at all they have accomplished for this cause--this event alone raised nearly $100,000 for CF Research! Now that too is a miracle--what one family can do!
The CF world is not one I travel in much these days. It was almost a feeling of "getting back to my roots." I was touched and moved by the advancements that have been made in just my lifetime. There is so much more hope for those born with CF today than there was only 30 years ago. I was proud to be a part of such a meaningful fundraiser. I was so impressed by Jen and her husband, Pete, and all of the committee members who made this night a raging success.
I may not have sold many books, but that's okay. Instead, I met up with an old friend who I hope will now be a new friend, bonded with my sweet Mom and sisters, met a man who touched my heart and flung me around the dance floor and hugged a woman who's girl has CF and, partly because of her parents, will live a longer and healthier life than I ever imagined at that age. I went to see Jen and sell some books. I got so much more. I got An Evening of Miracles.
Check out the Evening of Miracles website.
If you would like to make a donation to help with CF Research, visit the CF Foundation website to find out how.