December 06 2013

Ashley Coleman

“Press on.”

Growing up, I was pretty healthy for someone with cystic fibrosis – my biggest struggle was gaining weight and other GI (gastrointestinal) issues until I was diagnosed with CFRD (CF-related diabetes) at the age of 15. I played sports, attended school regularly, and my family never treated me like I was different.

As I have grown older, I came to the conclusion that I am not a victim of my disease – that everyone has a challenge in his or her life, and cystic fibrosis is mine. While I do not see myself as a victim, I have had to make some adjustments to my every day habits. For example, I have to be a little more aware of my surroundings – avoid public places where I know people will be smoking, planning ahead to make sure I always have the medications I need on me. I think I also have a special appreciate for life. I am twenty-six years old, and I try to be more compassionate toward others and to always remember that people have their own unique stories.

Every single day I wake up is a blessing. Realizing that each day is a gift, no matter how emotional I am feeling that day, is what has gotten me so far in life. I believe in taking charge of my health and my life – and working hard to stay positive.

If I had to give someone recently diagnosed with CF advice, I would tell them to have an open dialogue with your doctors and to educate yourself on your disease and treatments. Also remember to stay hopeful – you will have bad days, but the sun still rises.

Favorite Color – blue
Favorite Food – pizza
Favorite Movies – Mean Girls and Bridesmaids
I love all music! It inspires me.
My favorite runner is Ryan Hall.

If I could visit anywhere in the world, I would go to Israel.
My family and friends would describe me as… unstoppable.