March 27 2014

John O’Neill

“Life expectancy is just a number – and I always try to prove the doctors wrong.”

From the time I was young, I knew that a double lung transplant was a part of my future - it was just a reality I had to face because I have cystic fibrosis. What I didn’t know was that a transplant comes with a whole different set of complications.

My parents found out I had cystic fibrosis when I was just 6 months old – and a shock because we did not have it in our family history. I grew up in Watertown, NY with my three younger brothers who, fortunately, do not have CF.

Because I have always known about my disease, I have not allowed it to impact the way I choose to live. I knew from a young age that I needed to be compliant; that I needed to exercise regularly to keep myself as healthy as possible. I went to school and college like anyone else – I just had a few extra things to deal with. I slept in a mist tent, had to go to the hospital to get IVs, and did all of my normal treatments.

Eventually, in spite of my hard work, I did have to have a double lung transplant. After transplant, I lost my sight – a rare complication of the surgery. I found that I had traded one set of battles – ones that I was used to – for an entire new set. I have found inspiration in my wife and children; they inspire me to keep moving forward and to stay positive. They make me proud every single day.

If I had to give someone with CF advice, it would be this: no matter what happens, just live life to the fullest and as normally as possible.

If I could visit anywhere in the world… I would go to Ireland.
My friends call me Juice.
My Dad is my role model.
My favorite color is… blue – I would love to see it again.
I love to eat… Italian food.
My favorite holiday is… Easter.
My favorite sport is… baseball.