December 17 2013

Nicki Perkins

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

I was not diagnosed with cystic fibrosis until I was four years old – and it shocked my entire family completely because no one else had ever had the disease. I know that my parents struggled with guilt over it for a long time, but I never blamed them; cystic fibrosis is just a part of who I am.

As a child, I was never coddled; my parents insisted I play any and every sport available to me, and my medications and treatments were always nonnegotiable. I am so fortunate to have parents and family who support and encourage me to live my life as normally as possible. Because of this support, I played basketball, volleyball, track, softball, and badminton, and was more often than not captain of my team.

Cystic fibrosis has definitely made my life different than that of the average person. For example, dating was always a daunting process. When I met my husband, I had to explain my disease and all that it entails, including the probability that I will never have children. My disease has also made traveling harder than normal. I always have to be completely open with those friends and family with whom I am traveling about my medications and other treatment and exercise routines.

In spite of the difficulties, I have had many, many happy experiences. I recently started doing cross-fit six to seven days a week, and was able to do my first ever hand stand push-up, an accomplishment I never thought I would achieve! I also just found out that, after raising over $600,000 for the University of Calgary, they are naming their CF lab after me – an honor I am proud to have. By never taking a day off of my treatments and by exercising regularly, I have been able to accomplish things that I never thought possible and plan to reach even more goals in my future, like graduating from law school. Life may not be fair, but it is just as unfair for me as any other person, so I refuse to let me disease stop me from reaching my dreams.

Color… pink
Food… French fries
Holiday… Christmas
Movie…. Shawshank Redemption
Musical artist…. Jason Mraz
Sport… basketball
Athlete… Jarome Iginla

If I could visit anywhere in the world, I would travel to Asia.
If my family and friends had to describe me in one word, it would be ambitious.
My role model is my friend Diane, who is a 50-year old transplanted CF patient.
If I could give anyone recently diagnosed with CF any advice, it would simply be to play sports.