March 02 2009

Paul Drury

“Live in the now.”
 

Born in Chesire, Connecticut with five older brothers and sisters, I was diagnosed with CF at the age of two. Growing up, I had a normal, active childhood with the “usual” cleanouts – playing sports like baseball, golf, and hockey in high school. When I started at the University of Connecticut in the late 80s, I found adjusting to college life extremely difficult. I was very private about having cystic fibrosis, avoiding telling my friends so that I would not be treated differently.

During my first semester of school, I got pneumonia. During my second semester, my lung collapsed three times, so my doctors glued my lung to the inside of my chest in an attempt to prevent future issues. However; that did not work and I eventually had to withdraw from school for an entire year.

Living at home with my parents in 1986, I focused on getting healthy again and started going to the gym every day. Although it was a struggle, spending the year at home turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In November, my dad passed away from a heart attack. Spending that spring and fall at home with him – watching the Red Sox go to the World Series – provided me with memories that I still cherish.

Eventually I graduated from UConn with a degree in economics, after which my lung health deteriorated. In 1993, I ended up on oxygen for a full year and was told a transplant was out of the question. Eventually, I could be put on the list with a two-year wait. My condition worsened, and I moved up the list at Loyola University in Chicago; and in 1995, I became the first person to ever be transplanted from a respirator. I recovered remarkably.

Following my double lung transplant, I started a marathon golf event as a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In 1996, I became a full-time staff member and have since become the Director of Special Projects and the Executive Director of the CT Chapter. Even after a kidney transplant in April 2004, I am still working to raise awareness for both CF patients and organ donors. Now, at the age of 43, I have learned that living with CF has given me a unique perspective on life – one that has taught me to live in the moment and never lose hope. I currently live in Plantsville, CT with my wife and two dogs – taking one day at a time and always maintaining a positive outlook on life.