Hey everyone! I’m Jackie. I was diagnosed at birth with a rare genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis after my intestines ruptured while I was still in my mom’s stomach. There’s only about 30,000 of us in the United States and 70,000 worldwide. Cystic Fibrosis causes the body to produce extra sticky mucus. You wouldn’t think this affects much, but it does. It affects our entire body, but mainly the lungs & digestive system. Because of the sticky mucus, infection gets trapped in our lungs, causing serious infections and a decline in lung function over time. We don’t digest food easily and have to take enzymes to help our body break down fats. But none of those facts have prevented me from living my life. I’m 26 years old and haven’t let this disease hold me back. Ever.
Last summer I got really sick with a rare fungus. A really rare fungus. One that my doctor’s could only find 13 other cases of, and none of the reported cases were in people with CF. I ended up in a medically induced coma and received a lifesaving, emergency double lung transplant 9 days later. I spent 4.5 months in the ICU and had to re-learn every day things like holding a fork to eat, walking and breathing on my own. But I made it! And I’m still not going to let anything get in the way of fulfilling my dreams. I want to bring awareness to cystic fibrosis & organ donation. I want to share my journey with you. My ups & my downs. How I make everyday a good day, even if it’s a bad day. You can’t put a price on a second chance to breathe.
Want to learn more about me? Check out this post.